Posted by Samuel Ogidan | 5 December 2019 | 1,520 times
Following his failure to appear before the Senate’s joint Committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance, investigating the N263.89billion illegal security services carried out by the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMLS) at the Safe Anchorage Area in Lagos Ports, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly yesterday threatened to issue warrant of arrest on the Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The Senate also walked out his representative, the Principal Legal Officer of the Agency, Barrister Haruna Argungu, in the presence of the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.
All efforts by Argungu to convince the joint Committee on why the NIMASA DG didn’t come by himself were punctured by the lawmakers.
The absence of the DG was noted when the committee Chairman, Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), read out a list of heads of Marine Transport agencies invited for the hearing and discovered that Peterside was not personally present.
The absence of the DG angered the Committee members, who dismissed the efforts of the representative to justify the absence of his boss.
The Committee Chairman and other members of the committee like Senators Muhammad Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central), Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West) among others refused to accept Argungu explanations.
Argungu had explained that his boss couldn’t make it because of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conference he attended in London a few days back, but Senator Danjuma Goje who also attended the conference in his capacity, as Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, countered him by saying “I also attended the conference and I am here now.”
Goje also said that even the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki attended the same conference and honoured the committee’s invitation.
He said: “Your explanation that the NIMASA DG couldn’t make it to this investigative hearing because of IMO conference he attended in London a few days back is not tenable because I was also at the conference and even Senator Gbemisola Saraki, the Minister of State, Transportation was there and both of us are here now.
“Mr Chairman, the NIMASA DG should look for another excuse for not honouring the committee’s invitation which to me is unacceptable.”
To this end, the Committee Chairman told Argungu to inform Peterside to appear before it unfailingly Thursday, 5th December 2019 failure of which a warrant of arrest will be issued against him by the Senate.
He said: “This investigative hearing supposed to have been held last week but shifted to allow the NIMASA DG and other key players in Marine Transport to attend the IMO conference which took place in London last weekend.
“It is annoying that after that grace given to him, he still refused to appear before us today. This is unacceptable as submitted by other members of the committee and on account of this, the Committee is given him another chance to honour our invitation on Thursday, 5th December 2019 by 3 pm prompt.
“If the NIMASA DG fails to appear in person before this committee tomorrow (today), warrant of arrest will be issued against him by the Senate for that purpose.”
Barrister Argungu, was, however, ordered to leave the venue of the session, which he did along with another official from the agency, Mr Okechukwu Ekezienya. (Independent)
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