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Report: How $1.5bn channel management contracts caused ‘cold war’ between Amaechi, Bala Usman

Report: How $1.5bn channel management contracts caused ‘cold war’ between Amaechi, Bala Usman
May 11
10:32 2021

The suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman as the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the orders of Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has been traced to a disagreement over the renewal of $1.5 billion channel management contracts.

Last week, TheCable reported how Amaechi got President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to suspend Bala Usman.

The suspended NPA boss had said contract decisions at agency were made by the executive management team of the agency.

THISDAY reports that the channels in contention are Lagos, Port Harcourt (Bonny) and Warri, while Calabar is under litigation, with each valued at “$100 million a year for five years making it $1.5 billion (N600 billion) for the three channels for the five years.”

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Amaechi was said to have cancelled the three bid rounds for the NPA contracts in 2019, with the NPA placing another advertisements last year calling for expression of interest.

The report noted that the NPA rejected Amaechi’s request for two Chinese companies to manage Bonny and Warri Channels out of 25 and 18 companies that submitted technical bids, respectively.

At the end of the bidding process, three companies were shortlisted for Bonny and Warri, while two were selected out of 12 companies that submitted bids for the Lagos channel.

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The disagreement was said to have deepened when Amaechi wrote a letter to Buhari requesting that INTELS pilotage contract, which expired last year, be restored.

Reacting to Amaechi’s request, Bala Usman, in a letter to Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the President Muhammadu Buhari, had explained that the INTELS pilotage contract was not cancelled but had expired.

She also clarified that the NPA, contrary to claims, still has three contracts with INTELS, which include the concession agreement for Onne Terminal A and B in Rivers State-commenced in 2005 and ending in 2030; the concession agreement for Calabar Terminal A in Calabar Port, Rivers State and concession for Warri New and Old Terminal, Delta Port, Delta State.

The termination of contracts between NPA and INTELS had also generated controversies.

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