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NPA VS Intels: Maritime expert cautions lawmakers



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By Richards Adeniyi
A maritime expert and Principal Consultant, Ships and Anchor Services Limited, Engr Ojo Owolabi, has urged the members of House of Representatives to desist from dabbling into matters that have potentials of tarnishing the image of National Assembly.
Owolabi gave the advice in Lagos, over the weekend while addressing the media on certain developments in the maritime industry.
He said the advice to the lawmakers is hinged on public apology tendered by the founder and majority shareholder of Intels Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Gabrielle Volpi, to the federal government and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over the tension generated by the termination of his company’s pilotage management and supervision contracts by NPA.
Recall that the House of Representatives last week Wednesday, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to probe the circumstances surrounding the termination of the contract between Intels and NPA.
Discussing the development, the lower chamber had asked the government to reverse the contract termination to avoid injury to Intels and its workers.
Owolabi said that it is very demeaning that while the House was laboring to castigate NPA for the contract termination, Mr Gabriele Volpi, the founder and majority shareholder of Intels Nigeria Limited, the very company they are trying to protect, reportedly apologized to the federal government and NPA over the spat that led to the termination of the contract.
It was reported that Volpi, who holds dual Italian and Nigerian citizenship, openly denied being involved in the negotiations between his firm and NPA over the disagreement on the pilotage agreement but was apologetic for the misunderstanding that had taken place.
The report also said that he resolved to ensure that Intels undertakes a reconciliation process with the NPA and transfers all the revenue collected from the boats monitoring and supervision services in Nigerian maritime waters to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in compliance with the policy of the federal government.
Volpi added that his company was committed to co-operating with the federal government and the NPA in the development of the country’s maritime sector, including the construction of the Badagry deep seaport in Lagos State.
Owolabi said that it is a big embarrassment that while the House was busy lampooning the government, the man came out to own up his company’s wrongdoing and pulled the rug-off their feet.