The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, yesterday said Nigeria being the headquarters of poverty in the world is also perceived as the headquarters of piracy worldwide.
This is coming as the Senate Committee on Sports also yesterday threatened to shut down Bet9ja offices if the company fails to honour its invitation again.
Peterside who disclosed this in Abuja while defending the agency’s 2019 budget before the Senate Committee on Marine Transport emphasised that “within international maritime sector, Nigeria is largely seen as headquarters of piracy in the world.”
NIMASA boss who made the submission while responding to question on why the NIMASA’s contributions into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2018 reduced by N6 billion when compared to the N22billion remitted into the account in 2017, said maritime crime was largely responsible for the fall in revenues.
According to him, since monies remitted into the consolidated account on yearly basis are directly percentages of revenues saved, shortfalls in such remittance were as a result low revenues largely caused by maritime crime or piracy on high seas.
“Our own problem here is more of maritime crime and not piracy which is committed on high seas, but within the sector, Nigeria is largely seen as headquarters of Piracy in the world,” he said.
The agency’s remittance into the consolidated revenue fund in 2017 was N22 billion, while that of 2018 was N16 billion , representing a shortfall of N6 billion .
Peterside appealed to the Senator Ahmed Sani-led committee to facilitate the process of ensuring the concurrence to Maritime Security Bill.
“We need adequate security on our water ways; the very reason why the Anti- Piracy law already passed by the House of Representatives is urgently needed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Sports also yesterday threatened to shut down Bet9ja offices if the company fails to honour its invitation again.
Speaking during the verification of Loto companies with license to operate in Nigeria, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth and Sport, Senator Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), said it was unfortunate that Bet9a refused to honour the committee’s invitation.
“Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour our invitation again, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices,” he said.
According to Obinna, the Senate is moving to assist the lottery commission to generate money for the federal government.
“We wanted to see bet9ja. They can’t run away,” Obinna said, adding that the committee’s verification followed series of complaints against the betting companies that some don’t even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government.
“Some got the licenses but they are not operating. The new regulation only gives them one year to start operations,” he said.
No fewer than 20 other betting companies, however, appeared before the Committee for the verification exercise.