Nigeria: MARAN Seeks Probe of Calabar Dredging Contract

MARAN Seeks Probe of Calabar Dredging Contract

The Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria on Friday called on the Federal Government to institute a probe into the N9 billion Calabar Port dredging contract.

Speaking at a retreat organised by the association in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the president of the association, Bolaji Akinola, said that Nigerians should be fully briefed on the N9 billion spent on dredging of the port in 2006.

He said that the new Calabar port dredging being contemplated should not be awarded until an explanation was given on the previous contract.

He also called on the government to pay attention to the report of the 15-man Presidential Committee set up in July 2012.

The committee was inaugurated at a Presidential Maritime Retreat hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“I am aware that the committee has concluded its work and submitted a report to the Federal government, but that seems to be the end of the story as no further progress has been made.

“One would have thought that with the dire state of the maritime industry, government would have attended to the report of the committee with a sense of urgency,” he said.

Mr. Akinola said that the maritime industry in Nigeria stood the risk of total collapse if government failed to pay serious attention to matters affecting it this year.

He also lamented the shoddy handling of the Ports and Harbours Bill, saying that there was disconnect between the executive and legislative arms of the government on the bill.

He also called on the Federal Government to urgently set up an interim administration for the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, with the mandate to usher in a legitimate governing council within the next three months.

“The current state of affairs of the CRFFN is to say the least appalling,” he said.

Also speaking, Idris Suleiman, the Commandant of Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, urged the media to support the proposed take-over of destination inspection by customs in July.

He said that the service was fully prepared to take over the destination inspection scheme.

Mr. Suleiman also urged the media to support the service in implementing the Single Window Platform in July.

He said that 50 per cent of the operations of the service were being handled by service providers, adding that the service needed the support of the media to do its job and carry out all its functions.

He commended the Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi, for building the college, adding that many officers had been trained in the college since its inauguration in 2011.

Yetunde Sonaike, the Head of Press and Public Relations, who represented the Minister of Transport, said that capacity building was lacking in the maritime sector.

Ms. Sonaike said that there was no synergy between the maritime media and stakeholders and expressed optimism that the media would report in a responsible manner to build the industry.

She said that journalists, as the fourth estate of the realm, could make or mar the maritime industry.

[mappress]

Source: NAN, April 22, 2013

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