The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that one of the port concessionaire in Port Harcourt, BUA Terminal has been decommissioned for failing to comply with the port development plan of the agency.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday by the agency BUA Terminal, operator of terminal B in P’Harcourt, Rivers State was putting the life of its works force at risk for operating a dilapidated quay apron.
Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman at a stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt on Monday had disclosed that the terminal operator had even in a letter to the authority also confirmed its fears about security when it sent a letter complaining that the terminal was unsafe.
The terminal operator which had gone to court to protest the action of the NPA management.
Usman disclosed that the management received a contempt of court notice to the authority Monday.
But in her defence, Usman said that NPA has not violated any court order based on its action to terminate the concession agreement and subsequent decommissioning of the terminal.
She explained that the terminal failed to comply with the port development plan as stated in the agreement, adding that the attention of the terminal operator had been drawn to this but it failed to take action.
Usman said, “ In November 2016, a notice of termination was issued to BUA Terminal for none compliance with the port development plan. As part of the concession agreement, there are certain developments that each terminal operator is supposed to do at their terminals. In line with the concession agreement, BUA was required to rehabilitate and reconstruct that particular terminal, but did not do that for years.
“When NPA did an inspection, their concession agreement was terminated for failure to adhere to that development plan. However, BUA instituted a court injunction that prevented NPA from taking over the facility. We got the injunction in January 2018.
So, between January 2018 to June 2019, BUA enjoyed using that terminal in totality with collapsed quay walls and berths. We now received a letter from the same BUA, drawing our attention to the fact that the condition of the quay wall was deteriorating and not safe and it is at the point of collapse, and that they are very concerned.
“As a responsible regulator we looked at the state of that quay, and wondered how BUA could have used it for one and half years in that terrible state. With safety issues uppermost, we had to decommission the BUA terminal based on health and safety reasons. Now, the same BUA has gone to court to restrain NPA from implementing the decommissioning policy despite highlighting in their letter to us that the terminal is not safe. I am curious to what contempt of court this is all about. We are talking of an unsafe terminal.
“They are drawing attention of the public and alleging unfair treatment, but we are questioning what unfair treatment is in issues that has to do with safety. Do we ignore safety and allow BUA to continue to use a terminal that is about to collapse? It is important to NPA that BUA notifies the stakeholders and the court that they wrote to NPA in that regards. They should stop attributing the decommissioning to termination issue because the rule in port operation business is safety first.
“We should be responsible as private entities by adhering to what is required of us and go through due process. In addition, we have noted the fact that the quay walls along the Port Harcourt Port are weak and they are at the point of collapse. We instituted a conditional survey, which a report was sent to us that the Port Harcourt port has reached the end of its lifespan.
The NPA is making a presentation to the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its board to institute a full rehabilitation and reconstruction of the port in totality.”
She however indicated that the management of NPA was ready for out of court settlement, but added that the point must be stressed that people should not pretend to have been unjustly victimized.