The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is accusing INTELs Nigeria – a logistics company partly owned by Atiku Abubakar a former Vice President of the Country- of using its political influence and advantage to overtime disregard the federal government’s policies and directives.
Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman was a guest on ARISE News and asked Nigerians to discountenance suggestions that the long-standing dispute between the NPA and Intels was political and insisted that INTELs thinks it is above the law and had blatantly refused to comply with the government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
“I don’t see what is political about a company not complying with TSA. So if government says I have a Treasury Single Account from 2015 all revenue of government should go into the Treasury Single Account and a private company says no I am not complying and government says you must comply, so what’s political about that,? She queried
Bala-Usman further said: “In fact who’s being political, is it you INTELs that has hitherto always had political advantage, that way you never comply to government’s directives? So can we look at it in that way because I am curious as to what’s political about the fact that your contract has ended and the Nigerian Ports Authority is reclaiming back its service?
“How is it political that your contract ended in August 9th and government says now that your contract has ended, government will continue that service you rendered and pay that your sister company for any revenue that arises and you say no, I must be the service provider, so what’s political about that?
“For me, what’s even political is the fact that a company thinks it is above the law because hitherto it has been using its own political influence to operate outside of the legal framework, so we should be asking INTELs why it’s been political about its operations.”
The NPA and INTELs have a long history of disagreements about operations in Nigerian ports with the Nigerian government moving in 2017 against the company.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the recommendations of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, breaking the near-monopoly of INTELs in the handling of oil and gas cargoes in the country.
Malami had written to the NPA boss, Bala-Usman, directing her to terminate the boat’s pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement that the agency had with Intels, saying that the contract was illegal.
The Attorney-general had argued that the agreement which had allowed INTELs to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, was in contravention of the Nigerian Constitution, especially in view of the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the government.
Not done, the NPA terminated the Pilotage Agency Agreement with Intels, several months after both parties had disagreements over the company’s operations in Nigerian ports.
In its reaction at the time, INTELs kicked against the termination of the agreement describing the action as “preposterous” and highly injurious to Nigeria.
By Abel Ejikeme