A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the SAGE Africa has urged the Federal Government to reverse the termination of the boats pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement that the agency has with Intels Nigeria Limited, a company co-owned by a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The government said the contract with Intels, a leading integrated logistics and facilities services provider in the maritime and oil and gas logistics sectors of the country, was void ab initio.
The Executive Director of SAGE Africa Joshua Asubiojo told reporters on Thursday in Abuja that reversing the cancellation of the contract and subsequent revocation of expatriates’ resident permit would be in the interest of the nation’s economy.
“This is a disservice to our nation who at this point is yearning for foreign investment especially in the face of our already highly depleted economy. Instead of focusing on how to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians, it is rather preoccupied with revocation of the residence permits of the Expatriate staff in Intels as announced by the Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS),” Asiobiojo said.
According to him, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on 27 September 2017 in a letter to the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, said that an agreement, which allowed Intels to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, violates the Nigerian Constitution, especially in view of the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of government is surprising and confusing.
“This to our mind is a mis-step by the Attorney General as his position goes contrary against the rule of law as well as the principles of natural justice on all fours, to wit: The office of the Attorney General is not a Court of law conferred with the requisite jurisdiction to declare a valid contract void ab-initio and the action is therefore illegal. The AGF cannot be an arbiter or judge in his own matter as encapsulated in the Latin maxim “Nemo judex in causa sua”.
“The decision of the AGF constitutes a breach to the hitherto valid, legal and binding contract. The AGF who by inference is a party to the contract cannot by his conduct create a force majeure that would render the contract unenforceable and in their opinion illegal, though we do not concede that the agreement is illegal, unconstitutional and void ab-initio,” he said.
He said that non-remittances to the TSA if it existed should be blamed on the management of the NPA rather than Intel as the contract between Intel and NPA is for supervision and monitoring of pilotage within the different pilotage districts.
He said, “These we believe would rather aid the government to have proper revenue accruable from the NPA to the TSA. Littered in all ramifications with mischief and bad politics particularly coming at a period when there have been insinuations within the political polity that Atiku Abubakar would throw his hat into the ring ahead of the 2019 presidential elections. We at SAGE Africa will strongly resist any attempt to intimidate any contestant or any attempt not to allow fair play in the electioneering process.”