Members of the House of Representatives Wednesday called for a probe of the current face-off between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Intels Nigeria Limited leading to the termination of the Pilotage Monitoring Agreement with the oil and gas giant.
A motion for the investigation of the matter was moved by Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa) who drew the attention of the House that the matter was of urgent national importance. Douye had told the House that the probe had become necessary since Intels had carried out logistics operatrions in Apapa, Onne and Warri ports for 17 years, adding that it was surprising that its contract on pilotage monitoring agreement could be terminated considering that the contract runs for 25 years. Besides, he argued that the termination could lead to mass sack of workers engaged by Intels. He argued, “It’s known that INTELS Nigeria has over 7,000 Nigerians in its employment and these Nigerians have other dependents. And if we allow these people to lose their jobs, the economy will suffer further blow and setbacks. “Terminating contracts of this nature, where the company had taken foreign loans to the tune of $900 million to build up the ports, must be given serious and thorough considerations. And we must also as a House, insist that in taking such decisions, the Nigerian Local Content Act and due process must be followed.”
Another lawmaker, Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo) in supporting the motion drew the attention of the House that the workers who feel they will be affected by the termination of contract have cried for federal government intervention.
Ogun argued, “How can an agreement that has existed for years and showing the world that concessioning works in Nigeria be cancelled in one day? INTELS is hiring Nigerians and if they must cancel that concession, they must follow due process. We want to keep taking oil in the Niger Delta and we are shutting down what gives the youths some level of livelihood, and when this happens, they go and start destroying installations.”
Among House members who spoke in support of the motion were Hassan Saleh (APC, Benue), Simon Arabo (PDP, Kaduna. A member of the APC, Lagos, Rotimi Agunsoye however argued against the motion, saying that the issue was judiciary and the National Assembly did not need to intervene. Agunsoye argued that “The motion he brought concerning the people working in this company is not in order. If INTELS has a problem with government and they are aggrieved, why should they come here? They should go to court. The best they can do is write a petition to this House and the relevant committee will attend to it, not through a motion for debate. And when you even look at it, why should one company monopolise the operations of four ports when there are other service providers in the industry?”