BY YUSUF BABALOLA,
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has described the allegations that some vessels are missing at the nation’s seaports as a ruse and a result of conflict of interest.
Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP, recently, a top management staff of the agency said the statement was intended to get back at the managing director, Hadiza Bala Usman over her hard stance on the Calabar Channel Management (CCM) Contract.
CCM, which is in charge of the dredging of Calabar Port, is a joint venture formed by the NPA and a consortium of companies led by Niger Global Engineering & Technology Company Limited, owned by the chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Hope Uzodinma.
The officer who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak queried why the Senator Uzodinma, who happened to be the chairman of the company in charge of Calabar dredging was the one making the alleged spurious allegations which he described as not being substantiated.
He said: ‘‘Are they (vessels) spirit? It was a figment of their imagination, that vessel disappear is not true. We have vessels tracking, command and control technology so how will it disappear. The story was a recycled story that was carried many years ago and someone went to dig it up to settle a score.
“He was bringing it up because of CCM. We should ask why as a senator he is the chairman of a company where he is using his position to intimidate people? These are the questions. You are a sitting senator and a chairman of a company.’’
However, further investigation had shown that the MD of NPA recently refused to honour a $21 million invoice from the company.
Speaking in an interview in Abuja recently, Bala Usman said her refusal to honour the $21 million invoice sent to NPA by CCM has drawn the ire of the promoters of the company.
Explaining the relationship between NPA and CCM, she said, “Basically, our dredging activities are being done through three channel companies. We have the Lagos Channel Management Company, the Bonny Channel Management Company and the Calabar Channel Management Company. They do our dredging works in terms of capital and maintenance dredging of the channels into Lagos, Bonny and Calabar.
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