Senate Probes $3bn NPA’s Dredging Operations 


BY ARCHIBONG EYO, ABUJA – The Senate has moved to unravel how the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) spent a whopping three billion US dollars on the Lagos Channel Management and the Bonny Channel Company respectively from year 2005 till date.

Similarly, the red chamber is also interested to know why dredging activities has been stalled on the Calabar channel despite the huge financial investment and its economic importance as the gateway to the North Central and North East geo-political zones.

In the circumstance, the Senators have requested its Committee on Marine Transport to thoroughly investigate issues surrounding the multi-million Naira fraud allegedly perpetrated by NPA and some stakeholders in the sector.

Raising a Point of Order at the Wednesday’s plenary, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Senatorial District, alleged the fraud was linked to the Joint Venture Enterprises’ activities of NPA, covering the Lagos Channel Management Limited (LCML), Bonny Channel Company Limited (BCCL), and Calabar Channel Management Company Limited (CCMCL).

According to the lawmaker, both the LCML and BCCL came on board in August 2005 for the management and routine maintenance dredging of Lagos and Bonny navigation channels, while the CCMCL was set up to manage and handle capital dredging of the Calabar channel.

He said though promoted as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to reduce financial burden on the Federal Government, the NPA has in the last 12 years, since 2005, spent over 1 billion dollars and 2 billion dollars on the LCM and BCC respectively, adding the huge expenditure notwithstanding, significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel given its importance as an economic opening to the nation’s North Central and North East geo-political zones.

Insisting that empirical facts, evidence and data, including current Admiralty Charts from Lloyds of London, make claims of daily maintenance dredging by the affected firms doubtful, the Senator said the development is more regrettable given NPA’s huge financial commitments to some of its joint ventures projects.

Senator Omo-Agege said, “This is because the depth profiles of the Lagos and Bonny channels have remained at the same height of 13 meters for over 11 years”, noting that in the NPA’s 2017 budget, the LCM and BCC requested for 23 billion Naira and 20 billion Naira respectively for their operations.

In his comments, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki challenged the Marine Transport Committee to work diligently towards submitting its report within one week for consideration by plenary to ensure the NPA’s budget process is not adversely affected.

Amplifying the National Assembly’s resolve and commitment to fight corruption, the Senate President said, “These are the issues we will be bringing out from agencies in order to fight and protect the interests and rights of all Nigerians.”

The Marine Transport Committee’s mandate includes investigating the dredging activities, books, and records of the Nigerian Ports Authority; as well as that of the LCML; BCCL; and CCMCL.

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