The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has reacted to accusations of breaching a court order in the case involving BUA Ports and Terminals Limited, a subsidiary of BUA Group. The port authority and the company have been in a dispute over a port terminal in Port Harcourt.
NPA had decommissioned the whole concession arrangement which BUA Group got in 2006, claiming that the unsafe operational environment of the jetty (BUA concession area) needed urgent repairs and reconstruction.
But the General Manager, BUA Ports and Terminals Limited, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the withdrawal of license by the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman was against the requirement of global judicial/dispute resolution and undermined the NPA concession agreements.
Ibrahim argued that BUA had on several occasions sought approval from NPA to perform remedial works on the terminal. However, the NPA didn’t grant the approval, yet it shut down the terminal or decommissioned the concession.
But according to NPA’s recent reaction, the port authority said the terminal had been closed before BUA wrote to NPA regarding the state of the quay walls at the terminal. NPA said that was when BUA informed it that the terminal was close to collapsing.
Grey Area: While disputing BUA’s claim in a letter signed by Jatto Adams, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, the port authority stated that its action didn’t disobey the court order which restrain NPA from terminating the lease even though it has shutdown BUA’s terminal. NPA said the terminal was closed over a year after it received the court order.
BUA’s lease is meant to last for 20-years before the need for renewal but the company has only been in charge for 13-years. Why shutdown the terminal if the company in charge is willing to repair and still has 7-years to operate at the terminal. Does the NPA intend to repair the terminal on behalf of BUA and hand it back to BUA.