GTB 737 banner Yudala banner

Of Reps, INTELS and national interest, By Abang Asuquo

By News Express on 23/10/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 472


I watched with bemusement on Wednesday night as members of the House of Representatives, once again, put themselves on the line for the assessment of Nigerians. It is no secret that possibly since 1999, when the country retuned to civil rule, no set of legislators has courted public opprobrium like Class 2015. And the question has mostly been about whether these people truly hold national interest above personal or class interests. Most often than not, they have shown their hands as men and women after nothing but the feathering of other interests than that which promotes public good. Unfortunately, to make things worse, in this pursuit, they very often act ultra vires.

An example of such situations is Wednesday’s motion which ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Nigerian Ports Authority to reverse the termination of its contract with INTELS. In discussing this motion, as shown on Channels Television News at 10, the House was divided along party lines, but at the end of the day, those who wanted the termination “reinstated”, pending the conclusion of investigations of an ad hoc committee set up to look into the matter, carried the day.

What is curious about discussions in the House of Representatives is that they sounded so much like they were in a court of law. While some of the members actually suggested that INTELS should go to court to protect its interest, if it feels shortchanged, one or two members, whose names I did not get, were actually talking about the need to protect the “res”. And I found myself wondering if these people actually imagine that they had the powers of courts, the powers to protect the res! But even the courts do not exercise the power to issue what would amount to an ex-parte order without discretion.

While one cannot fault the House of Representatives for its decision to investigate the circumstances surrounding the termination of the boat pilotage contract, one finds it preposterous that it would order a reversal of a decision that is said to have been taken as a result of infractions on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

I cannot vouch for the process that the AGF and NPA employed in the termination of this contract, not being a party to it, but it is trite that even if the terms of the initial agreement between the parties had been infringed, it is only a court of law that can adjudicate such infringement. Except, of course, in the case of Arbitration Clauses that may have been part of the contract. For the House of Representatives to suggest that it has the power to “maintain the res” is to say the least, laughable.

But we can even take this argument further. The Rep who raised this issue of national importance during plenary on Wednesday – Hon Duoye Diri, from Bayelsa State – and some of the other contributors identified the need to protect about 7,000 jobs as one of the reasons for their intervention. And one is the forced to ask what this has got to do with conforming to the laws of the land? The argument that the lawmakers seem to be making here is that even if infractions have truly been established against INTELS, Nigeria must condone them because they employ a huge number of our people. I honestly cannot think of a more incredible proposition.

I agree that Nigeria needs all the job opportunities that it can muster at this time, but nothing is more important than the sanctity of our laws, as they are the only things that make us a civilised society. The moment investors are unable to vouch for the ability of Nigeria to protect them through the instrumentality of the law, the country would have sacrificed its qualification as a civilised country. We cannot scare investors away with the lack of assurance for a level-playing field that the restoration of a contract that is patently illegal would convey.

But are we even losing 7,000 jobs with the termination of the boat pilotage contract?

Does INTELS have that number of employees for this single contract or it has summed up its staff strength to include its operation as a terminal operator in three port locations, some of which have the best facilities to receive oil and gas cargoes in the country? These terminals are still receiving virtually all of Nigeria’s oil and gas cargoes at the moment, since other operators do not immediately offer the infrastructure to compete with INTELS.

This is another area in which members of the House of Representatives did not demonstrate adequate knowledge. One of the members was speculating that INTELS’ concession deal has been terminated, but there is nothing more untrue. As we speak, INTELS still operate terminals for the NPA in Onne, Calabar and Port Harcourt. We need to get informed about these things, before we speak about them, please!

As someone who has practised in the maritime sector for well over a  decade, I think the noise about the loss of 7,000 jobs is cheap blackmail. I am aware that INTELS employs thousands of Nigerians, but that cannot be related to this contract only. That the company also makes it sound like it has lost out completely in its business with the NPA is also a dishonest strategy that Nigerians must see through.

Even as we speak, INTELS receives the greater number of oil and gas cargoes in Nigeria, because of the capacity and infrastructure that it has built in the years that it had monopoly in that sector. So, playing the cheated victim in the public space is deceptive.

In any case, even if INTELS had 7,000 people employed for its boat pilotage service, wouldn’t the expertise of these people be needed by whoever is taking over the agency?

It is in the same way that one cannot fathom the company’s threat that the termination of this contract will jeopardise its plan to invest in Badagry. Again, this is blackmail. If INTELS runs away from this investment, it does not take the opportunity away and some other investors would soon exploit the opportunity. Ultimately, the losers would be no one but INTELS.

Given the foregoing backdrop, I would that – rather than run helter-skelter blackmailing government and playing on the emotions of Nigerians – INTELS should look for opportunities to settle things amicably with the NPA. And, if that does not work, it should review its business process and ensure that it conforms to all Nigerian laws. The company cannot continue to give the impression that only Nigeria has benefitted from its investments in the country. The truth is that INTELS has become an enormously big entity on the bills of Nigeria. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship, and the company will lose too much by making it sound otherwise.

Abang Asuquo, a marine engineer, wrote in from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Source News Express

Posted 23/10/2017 12:22:22 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

 

You may also like...
Sack Threat: Striking doctors dare Kogi Govt.

Indonesian Muslims Protest Christian Governor

Delta Election Petition Tribunal adjourns pre-hearing to July...

Customs impounds 661 Action Rifles, nabs 3 suspects...

$2.1bn arms deal: I will speak at the...

Bring your wealth home to industrialise homeland, Obi...

Clearing agents to shut down Lagos ports over...

President’s supporters invade Venezuela National Assembly, beat up...

Nigerians celebrate Obama’s victory in decisive US Presidential...

I won’t probe past government in Ondo —...

Edo Traffic Law offenders to face sanity test,...

Anambra attracts $560.3m on power, hits 40MW

 

Latest News Lagos seals 18 hotels, event centres over tax evasion How security agencies quarantined Anambra to ensure peaceful governorship election •Arrest miscreants, thugs Obiano dazes them all to secure second term as Anambra Governor Imposter nabbed at INEC Sokoto Govt. to sponsor 200 indigenes to study medicine in India SERAP, pensioners drag Buhari before ECOWAS Court over unpaid pensions, salaries Mugabe given until noon Monday to quit as President of Zimbabwe 80 per cent of road accidents caused by human factor — FRSC FG hails global endorsement of Nigeria’s fight against terrorism NGO Commends Kogi Gov Over Staff Audit That Uncovered Numerous Ghosts PDP Chairmanship: Northern leaders embrace Secondus BREAKING NEWS: How Obiano beat 36 challengers to win Anambra governorship election •Full results from all the LGAs

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (294,540 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (278,310 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (224,903 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (189,204 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (181,330 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (165,922 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (144,028 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (130,475 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (126,951 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (116,469 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (113,715 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (107,545 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (30) Business (2,771) Business Verdict (26) Columnists (769) Complaints & Requests (93) Enterprise & Opportunities (186) Entertainment (404) Features (510) Global Business Monitor (190) International (1,646) Interviews (138) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (82) News (30,358) Opinion (837) Pidgin (9) Politics (4,108) Religion (648) Sports (1,357) Stock Watch (24) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

UBA mobile app

CBN Words on marble

 

 

Argentina vs Nigeria

 

APO Group Partner

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!