Fresh crisis is about to brew in the Niger Delta region as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has reportedly handed the debt recovery and surveillance contracts awarded to the Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL) to a party chieftain.
The GWVSNL is owned by Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpomupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
The speculation that the contract would be so transferred had been gaining ground until Saturday when an aide to Tompolo said he and other officials of GWVSNL were told to stay clear of the debt recovery offices and hand over documents relating to all debt recovery activities.
It will be recalled that President Buhari administration had suspended the contract, which was awarded to the former militant leader under the Goodluck Jonathan administration as part of the deal to have lasting solution to the crisis of the Niger Delta.
Ripples Nigeria learnt that the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, had in a memo informed all concerned that the responsibilities of debt recovery and other related activities will henceforth be handled by a new firm, Snecou Nigeria Limited, a company in which chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Dr Davies Ikanya allegedly has some interest in.
It is now the duty of the firm to recover over $20 billion owed to NIMASA by shipping companies operating through Nigerian waters, where 10 percent of each volume of debt recovered is to be retained by the contractor, said a source close to GWVSNL.
But what has been of concern to many is that the new firm may not have the same clout that some of the former militant leaders working with NIMASA may have had, neither does it have contacts with some of the restive youths, who constitute trouble on the high sea.
Also, taking away of the contract from the former militant leader is said to have sent a wrong signal to the Niger Delta Avengers, who are still expected to cease hostilities that had been disrupting economic activities in the region, thereby costing Nigeria loss of billions of foreign currency that could have been realised from the oil and maritime sectors.