Reps Summon Oyetola, Saidu Alkali, BPE Over Alleged Fraudulent Concessioning Of Seaports

The House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Ministers of Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola and Transport, Saidu Alkali, over the alleged fraudulent concessioning of critical port infrastructure which is one of the major focuses of the President Tinubu-led administration.

The other agencies also invited are the Managing Director (MD) of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko and the Director General (CG) Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) Mamman Ahmadu and the Director General Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Micheal Ohiani etc.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Hon. Ibrahim Hamisu (APC, Kaduna) at the investigative hearing with seaport terminal operators lamented the absence of heads of key sectors as the Ministers of Transport and Blue Economy, the MD of Nigeria Ports Authority hence the role they played in the concessioning of the seaport terminals.

Again, the majority of members of the committee frowned at the shady manner in which the concessioning process was handled which had let the five companies operating for five (5) years running without renewal therefore leading to a huge loss of revenue to the federal government.

“We invited you to this meeting today to discuss how best to address this prolonged renewal process because of the need to attract investments into our critical port infrastructure which is one of the major focuses of this administration.

“From the brief we received from affected parties and MDA’s (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) involved in the process, we understand that as of today what is outstanding in concluding the process that started over 5 years ago is the execution of the negotiated Supplementary Agreements for the respective Terminals.

“That is why we invited all stakeholders to see how we can work together to quickly address this concern in the mutual and national interest”, Rep. Hamisu noted.

Briefing journalists on the matter, Rep. Hamisu further explained that there was a need to find out why the companies listed were still operating without renewal of the concession.

“Some seaport terminals were given out on concession and five of them have expired.

“Some are from Lagos and some are from Port Harcourt. They were trying to see that their approvals were renewed in 2021.

“Somewhere, somewhere this renewal was not granted to them, but they have been operating since then.

“So we deemed it fit to cross-check and find out what the problem is. So we decided to invite them, and all the stakeholders like the Ministry of Blue Economy, ICRC, BPP, and the Ministry of Transport. After inviting them here today, unfortunately, only the seaport terminal operators are here.

“So we have discussed with them and have given a week period within which the Minister of Blue Economy, MD NPA, BPP and ICRC should appear before this committee on 12th of March by 10 am, so we discuss with them, we see where the problem is and we take action so that we bring this lasting solution to the problem.

“They have been invited but only one of them gave a reason for not coming because they are out of the country. But the rest did not give any reason for not coming.

“The names of the affected seaport terminals are Port and Cargo Terminal, ENL Consortium Terminal C, ENL Consortium Terminal D, Josepdam Terminal and AMS Terminal.

“There are the five terminals whose concession period has expired and they have been operating illegally from 2021 to date and we want to investigate and see what is the problem and whoever is in charge of this we would deal with him”, he warned.

Earlier in his ruling, the chairman insisted that the Ministers of Blue Economy and Transport, others must appear before it next week on Tuesday unfailingly.

“They must appear before the Committee on 12th of March. We also want to assure that this committee would work very hard to make sure that this issue is over and to do that, you are to furnish the Committee with all the relevant documents through the Secretariat, the latest Friday.

“To this end we would also go into details of all your financial activities between the expired date to today because as one of the members said maybe you are comfortable with what you have been paying and that is why you are silent otherwise you should have been following it so the issue would come to an end.

“So when you are furnishing the Committee with relevant documents, you should give us all the details of payment done by your side to the government so we can see what transpired between the expired date to date.

“We want to assure you that we will work hard and work together with you to make sure that this prolonged issue is solved.”

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