Port Terminal crisis: Why NPA must reverse termination of BUA lease agreement

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…as Stakeholders seek justice for BUA

By Seun Ibiyemi

Stakeholders in the maritime industry have called on the Federal Government to direct the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to reverse the termination of BUA Ports Terminal Lease  Agreement and reopen the terminal so as to avoid another court order embarrassment against the Federal Government of Nigeria. It would be recalled that a court in the  United Kingdom had threaten to take over the multibillionaire  assets of Nigeria.T he decision, at the commercial court, converted a 2017 arbitration tribunal award into a high court judgment, and gives British Virgin Islands-registered P&ID the right to seize $9bn in assets, following the failed gas supply and processing agreement

The stakeholders led by  several members of maritime labour unions who want to remain unknown until they take action  have expressed concern particularly about the impending dangers associated with throwing over  200 workers of BUA Ports and Terminal into the labour market at a time that unfriendly policies by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had reduced the patronage of Nigerian Ports by investors and entrepreneurs.

The stakeholders said:” Most of us had submitted application for job in NPA severally with no hope and consideration until we approach the management of  BUA Group. We therefore demand reversal of the termination by NPA. It is not only a dangerous trend but another terrorism and threat  against sustenance of investment in Nigerian economy by  BUA Group”

Some of the workers who reacted to the negative closure of the terminal and decommissioning advised  the National Assembly to intervene to save the image of Nigeria as a strong brand attractive to foreign investors.

The media department of BUA Group stated recently that the repair and reconstruction required for the part of the Jetty in question does not require a decommissioning or closure of the entire Terminal. “The carrying out of the remedial works if approved by the management of NPA would have remedied the defects stated in our letter to NPA and averted any risk of loss of property and lives.  It is apparent that NPA is using the said letter by BUA Ports and Terminals as a subterfuge for an effective termination and closure of the Terminal in violation of the order of the court restraining NPA from carrying into effect the purported Notice of Termination.

BUA group stated that : “It is also germane to point out that under the Lease Agreement, NPA has an obligation, among others, to dredge the port and repair the quay walls and apron of the Terminal which responsibility it has failed to perform till date. The dredging of the port is a sine qua non condition for the effective reconstruction and rehabilitation of the jetty given the age of the port (over 100 years old)”.

BUA Group also accused the NPA of failing to meet with its obligations regarding the lease agreement and of disregarding the Federal High Court, Lagos Division injunction restraining NPA from terminating or giving effect to the Notice of Termination pending the referral of the issues in dispute to arbitration as provided under the lease Agreement. Also,  BUA group questioned why the NPA will jettison the pending arbitral processes of the Court Of Arbitration of International  Chamber of Commerce in Paris and take laws into its hands by de taking physical possession of the Terminal.

The group said that :

“Under the agreement between the parties, NPA has an obligation, among others, to dredge the port and repair the quay apron of the Terminal which responsibility it has failed to perform till date.

“The background  to the issues between the NPA and BUA Ports and Terminals Limited has its root in the Lease Agreement between the Nigerian Port Authority, the Bureau of Public Enterprises on

“By the terms of the Agreement, the parties are enjoined to continue with the observance of the terms and performance of their respective obligations under the Agreement even while disputes are being resolved by either court or arbitration.

“By the terms of the Agreement, the parties are enjoined to continue with the observance of the terms and performance of their respective obligations under the Agreement even while disputes are being resolved by either court or arbitration.

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