Reps insist on probing Shorefac, Navy partnership in maritime sector
The House of Representatives has said it would not be swayed to stop the probe of proposed deal between Shorefac Consortium Limited and the Nigerian Navy.Chairman of House Committee on Navy, Mr. Abdussamad Dasuki, said there is no going back on probing the deal, which could lead to commercialisation of Maritime Services Department of the Navy.
Debunking rumours that his committee was being pressurised not to go ahead with the probe, he said: “I am not aware of any pressure. The House has given us a mandate, and our job is to investigate it thoroughly, make recommendations in the best interest of Nigeria and report back.”
He spoke against the backdrop of speculation that members of the committees on Navy and Defence were being lobbied to ignore the probe of the deal considered in certain quarters as capable of undermining national security.
Indeed, a source close to the committee said: “It is surprising that in this age, where insecurity has taken different forms, and has become a hydra-headed monster, anyone would consider commercialisation of any sector of the Armed Forces. It may even be better, if it were a local company with lighter terms, as national interest would be paramount for both parties.”
In February 21, 2017, the multinational outfit had proposed a business model to the Ministry of Defence to deliver 100 fast boats to the Navy, alongside an offer of maintenance.
The deal, which would be at no cost to the Federal Government, entails that the company would become a commercial partner to the Navy, which would be expected to provide security services at a cost to International Oil Companies and other owners and operators of offshore assets.
However, Mr. Johnson Agbonyinma (Edo: PDP), who sponsored a motion to oppose the deal, argued that engaging a consortium with such strong international affiliations to partner with a key arm of the nation’s Armed Forces could unduly expose the country to foreign interference.