Members of the House of Representatives Tuesday gave the Transportation Minister, Hon Rotimi Amaechi, 72 hours to produce the documents relating to the water security contract awarded to the Isaeli security company October last year.

The contract which is worth $195m and awarded to HLSI Security Systems & Technologies is being investigated by the House.

The Israeli company  is to procure security equipment, train security operatives, including the Navy to tackle armed robbery and piracy on the waterways.

The investigation of the water security contract by the honourable members followed series of petitions filed by 10 civil society organizations to the Transportation Minister not to go ahead with the contract.

The position of the petitioners is that such contract could have security implications for Nigeria as it will expose the nation’s waterways to foreigners.

Law makers who had scheduled a session Tuesday on the investigation said they could not do much without the documents on the contract award.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Uzoma Nkem-Abonta said the Committee had requested for the documents from the Ministry without getting them.

Abonta said “we have been demanding these documents and we have received no responses. This is about the 8th hearing on this issue.

“If the contractual documents and agreements cannot be produced within the next 72hours, we will be forced to close this matter and make our recommendations to the House.”

Although other members of the Committee wanted the matter closed and a report made to the whole House because of the attitude of the Ministry in making the documents available, Abonta said Amaechi should be given the last chance.

He said, “Let us still give them the benefit of the doubt; after 72 hours we can close the matter.

“For now, my ruling is that all relevant stakeholders should stay action in all activities pending the outcome of House resolution on the issue.

“We have wasted so much parliamentary time on this issue that we will close the matter immediately after 72 hours.”

It would be recalled that the Minister had during the World Maritime Day celebration explained that the President had approved the maritime security contract.

The contract is to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the security of the nation’s water ways.

Amaechi had explained that he was moved to engage the Israeli company based on the information received from Maersk which said it spends between 15m and $18m annually to those escorting their vessels on the waterways.

He disclosed that the Israeli company has assured him that with the contract, they will stop such harassment on the waterways.