Intels Nigeria Limited, INL, on Wednesday kicked against the termination of its Pilotage Agency Agreement by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
In its reaction on Wednesday, the company described the action as “preposterous” and highly injurious to Nigeria.
The company was reacting to decision of the NPA to terminate the agreement between the agency and Intels, several months after both parties had disagreements over the company’s operations in Nigerian ports.
On June 27, SAHARACABLE exclusively reported how the Nigerian government was making moves against the operations of Intels, partly owned by former Nigerian vice-president and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar.
The company was founded over three decades ago by Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national who also has Nigerian citizenship, and former Vice-President, Mr. Abubakar.
Earlier in April, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the recommendations of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, breaking the near-monopoly of Mr. Atiku’s Intels in the handling of oil and gas cargoes in the country.
But on September 27, Mr. Malami, wrote to the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, directing her to terminate the boats pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement that the agency had with Intels, saying that the contract was illegal.
According to SAHARACABLE newspaper, Mr. Malami in the said letter had stated 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 government.
But Intels, in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that following the letter from the Mr. Malami, directing NPA to terminate the pilotage agreement, NPA promptly ended the contract on October 10, without inviting it as the other party to the agreement for negotiation.
It also alleged that the NPA acted without due recourse to the terms of the agreement that specify conditions precedent before a party can exit the contract.
Based on the directive, Intels stands to lose several millions of dollars in commissions for the monitoring and supervision pilotage services it handles on behalf of NPA on Nigerian coastal waters.
Mr. Malami, in the letter, made it expressly clear that the agreement violated Sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the constitution, and wondered that both NPA and Intels did not avert their minds to the relevant provisions when they were negotiating the agreement in 2010.
But in its reaction on Wednesday, Intels argued that the termination of the agreement which was conveyed to the firm in a letter signed by the NPA boss on Tuesday, was “clearly preposterous and the consequences highly injurious” to the interests of Nigeria.
In a letter signed by a Director of Intels, Silvano Bellinato, the logistic firm said the action by NPA would force it to reconsider its multi-billion dollar investment at the Badagry deep seaport in Lagos, adding that the investment would have created thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
It explained that it had invested too much in the country and if the Nigerian government was not prepared to respect the sanctity of its contract, it would resort to the courts to challenge NPA’s action.
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