The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, on Monday, expressed opposition to the Hydrographic Survey bill.
The agency opposed the bill over what it called “apparent militarisation” of the yet to be created agency.
The position of the agency was presented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajayi, at the public hearing on the bill organised by the House Committee on Navy.
NIMASA, at the hearing, adopted the position of the ministry of transportation.
The bill, sponsored by Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), who is also the chairman of the committee on Navy, seeks to create the agency, under the Nigerian Navy, with the mandate to be in charge of survey and charting of waterways.
The bill was introduced on 23 July, 2020 and passed for second reading on 8 December, 2020.
Mrs Ajayi said: “Hydrography is important to both military and civil authority, but the bill seeks to make hydrography the primary responsibility of the Navy”.
“There seems to be an apparent militarisation of the proposed agency. Hydrography as a discipline is subject to both military and civil authorities worldwide. Hydrographic services are relevant to naval authority, to commercial shipping entities.
“The present bill appears to situate the subject as of primary interest only to the Navy, leading to an error, in our view, in establishing a national agency as an arm to the Nigerian Navy. The emphasis is National.
“Appointment of the hydrographer of the nation under section 5 ‘shall be subject to the provision of the armed forces Act’. The implication of this, and other related provisions in our laws, is that a non-military person cannot be appointed as the hydrographer of the nation, no matter how eminently qualified that person is. It is, therefore, in the opinion of the ministry of transportation that it will have negative consequences on a national agency.
“The agency should be set up as an open institution in collaboration between the military and civil authorities, in order to attract the best professionals, wherever they may be.”
She added that the bill conflicts with some functions of NIMASA.
Responding to the position of the Ministry of Transportation, the Hydrographer of the Navy, Chukwuemeka Okafor, a rear admiral, said “hydrography is too vital to the national security of the country, hence, the agency cannot be domiciled with any civilian agency”.
He noted that the data that are collected mostly have implications on defence.
He added that the country is losing out due to lack of proper charting of waterways.
“Hydrography has national security implications, during a hydrographic survey on a particular body of water, a huge volume of information is acquired from that area, only a small percentage of this is released as civil hydrography, other information that facilitates military operations in that area are kept in a restricted area, and released to the appropriate arms of the military for national defence.
“Saying this without prejudice that there is nothing like civil and military hydrography, once you deploy a sensor in the water, the sensor will capture every information about that body of water, and when that information comes to the shore, the office where it is processed will analyse, the civil and defence information. It will be a huge National Security mistake to domicile this agency in the arms of a purely civil institution.”
The office of the Surveyor-General also made a case that the agency should be under its control.
The Surveyor-General of the Federation, Adeniran Taiwo, while speaking at the hearing, welcomed the bill but noted that his office should superintend over the proposed agency.
“The Office of the surveyor General of the Federation should superintend over this proposed Agency. This is in line with the provision of the Survey Coordination Act CAP. S17 LFN 2004,” he said.
The chairman of the committee said the recommendation of all the agencies will be attached to the bill when it is transmitted to the president if passed by the lawmakers.
Senate Urges NDDC To Complete Okitipupa Power Sub-Station
The Senate yesterday in Abuja urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the installation of a transmission power sub-station in Okitipupa council of Ondo State.
According to the Senate, completing the installation of the transmission power sub-station is urgent in order to restore electricity to Ondo South Senatorial District comprising Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Irele and Odigbo Local Government Areas (LGAs).
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Olumide Akinrinlola, the media aide of Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South at the senate.
He said that the senate acted on the motion filed by Tofowomo on, the urgent need to restore power back to the affected area before the end of the year.
The Senator, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lamented that the Southern Senatorial District was hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net since 2005 without residents benefitting from power supply.
“The situation is embarrassing because I continue to wonder if Ondo South is part of Nigeria because suffering from electricity blackout for about 14 years has grounded many economic activities.
“Almost 90 per cent of my people have been deprived of electricity since 2007 and since put them uninterrupted darkness.
“The district is hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net since 2005 without the people benefiting from the distribution of electricity.
“The intervention came in 2012 by NDDC in a contract; 132KV transmission and 132KV/33KV sub-station and line were awarded in Okitipupa LGA.
“As at today, 85 per cent of the job has been completed and all the 145 Transmission Line Towers from Omotosho Power Station to the Sub Station has been completed.
“The sub-station’s outstanding works remain 15 per cent of which can be accomplished without delay if all the necessary machinery are put in place.
“The substation can be ready for transmission to the federal feeders in Irele, Odigbo, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Okitipupa LGA within the shortest possible time,” Tofowomo told the senate.
Delta Assembly Passes Anti-Grazing Bill
The Delta State House of Assembly yesterday passed a Bill for a Law Prohibiting Open Grazing, Indiscriminate Breeding, Rearing and Marketing of Livestock in Delta also known as “Anti Grazing Bill”.
The passage of the bill followed a motion for the third reading moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr Ferguson Onwo, during the plenary of the Assembly in Asaba.
The motion which was unanimously adopted by the house, was seconded by the Minority Leader of the Assembly, Mr Innocent Anidi.
Earlier, the Chairman of House Committee on Special Bills, Mrs Pat Ajudua, had presented the report on the bill on the floor of the House, which was received and adopted.
Ajudua, while presenting the bill, said that inputs of stakeholders formed part of the proposed law.
She noted that the bill when signed into law would prohibit the carrying of firearms, either licensed or otherwise, by residents or individuals in the state, just as it seeks to address the arbitrary rearing and movement of livestock.
In his reaction, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, expressed happiness over the development, saying that the people and residents of the state would be very happy that the bill was passed.
“Dear colleagues, I congratulate all of us on the passage of this very important bill.
“Today, the house has fulfilled the commitment of our dear state to the agreement reached at the South-South Governors’ meeting held here in our state capital, Asaba.
“By virtue of this bill, this house has demonstrated its resolve to protect the people of the state from the menace of clashes between herders and farmers.
“I must therefore, commend all the sponsors of this bill, for recognising that the security of lives and property of the people of the state as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) are sacrosanct,” Oborevwori said.
Oborevwori said that with the passage of the bill, well-meaning persons who seek to carry on the business of breeding, rearing and marketing of livestock should do so within the boundaries of the law.
“Also, farmers can now go about their businesses without fear of anyone grazing on their crops.
“This for sure will boost food production in the state; dear colleagues, this Bill is a right step in the right direction as our women can now go to their farmlands without fear of molestation.
“Once again, I thank you all for your untiring support as always and for your resolute commitment in the passage of people oriented bills, such as this.”
FG Tasks Media On Fight Against Fake News, Misinformation
The Federal Government has urged the media to complement the government’s efforts in the fight against fake news and misinformation in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha gave the advice yesterday at a training of “Communication Managers on Fake News and Hate Speech’’ in Abuja.
The training was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.
Mustapha, represented by Mrs Veronica Agugu, the Director, Public Affairs Department in the office of SGF, described fake news as false and misleading information presented as news.
He urged media practitioners and managers to assist in bridging the divide between governments and citizens in terms of implementation of government reform policies and programmes.
“Strengthening transparency in governance will require public sector to public communication as a tool to systematically raise citizens awareness which in turn would reduce the potency of hate speech in the country,’’ Mustapha said.
Dr Bala Muhammad, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano State, described media managers as media literates.
He urged them to unite against fake news and misinformation to promote peaceful co-existence in the country.
Muhammad said that most of the users of social media were not media literate, hence they easily fall for fake news and misinformation in the country.
Mr Yushau Shuaib, one of the resource persons, expressed concern over the huge number of social media users who were not media literate.
Shuaib stressed the need for relevant stakeholders to redouble their efforts in regulating the activities of social media in the country.
Mr Dasuki Arabi, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, said the training was to tackle the growing incidences of fake news, and hate speech occasioned by internet technology in the country.
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