FG, Stakeholders Disagree Over Calabar Channel Dredging

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, International News, National News, Politics, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

Calabar Port (Photo: Google)

The dredging of the Calabar Channel is currently threatened as the federal government and major stakeholders in the project are bickering over who is responsible for the delay in commencement of the project.

The Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman had told the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) that the NPA had carried out a detailed investigation and faulted the initial work done by the Calabar Channel Management Company (CCM).

But the MD of CCM Limited, Mr. Bart Van Eenoo has refuted this claim and called on the NPA to do the needful as the dredging stopped because they had not played their part with all the stakeholders including the NPA station manager in Calabar in concord to the fact that CCMhad carried out appreciable work on the dredging.

“If we may ask, who is the NPA MD fooling? If no work was done as it is being alleged by her, why was the initial payment made to CCM when it was on record that NPA participated in all the work done by the CCM as its (NPA’s Project Resident Hydrographic Surveyor and Technical Auditors on the project-CARES Limited) were always on board the dredgers working on the project and certifying for payments only after verification that what is presented by the Consortium tallies with the work done and in accordance with the Joint Venture (JV) agreement?,“ Van Eenoo queried and added that some of the stakeholders were always aboard the dredgers during the cause of the dredging to have a feel of the work done until the NPA suddenly disrupted it without formal communication to CCM.

ThisDay Newspapers reports that Eenoo said the NPA openly advertised for the establishment of a Channel Management Company for the Calabar navigation channel in advert titled :“Public Notice No.3551: Invitation For Pre-qualification For The Management Of The Access Channels To All Nigerian Ports,” and published in several newspapers on Wednesday, April 21,2004, which Niger- Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited leading a consortium of companies, submitted a bid and won leading to the establishment of CCM with a Joint Venture (JV) agreement with the NPA.

“The entire contract followed full advertisement in the media and due bidding processes with all the necessary approvals and vetting of the agreement by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) before its execution. It was after a rigorous exercise that our consortium won the bid. It is the same consultants – Mobotek that handled the selection process for the Lagos Channel Management Company and the Bonny Channel Management Company that conducted the bidding process which our company passed the financial and technical bids and was duly handed a ‘No Objection’ Certificate by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP),” Eenoo added.

He accused the current NPA management of having sinister motives against the project with a pointer to this, being its refusal to hold any meeting with CCM management despite hobnobbing with managers of other channels.

“It is curious that even after an insider at the NPA instigated a petition against the CCM to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that no work was done, an investigative panel with the EFCC that looked into the matter and certified that work was done, yet the NPA MD is saying a different thing. How can anyone accuse Boskalis and Westminster Dredging, internationally acclaimed companies of not doing a job they had satisfactorily executed,” he said.

Eenoo said before NPA disrupted the work, CCM had dredged with a minimum depth of six (6) datum because; “our company attaches great importance to the project given its economic significance to the country in general and particularly the North-Central, North-East and South-South regions.”

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