The Nigerian Ports Authority has said that it decommissioned the BUA, Terminal at the Rivers Ports Complex, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for health and safety reasons.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman at the quarterly stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday said the Authority will not rule out an out of court settlement with BUA.
The NPA MD explained further that it was the terminal management that wrote to the authority over safety concern of the quays that made them arrive at the decision of decommissioning the terminal.
According to her, as a responsible corporate organisation, the authority had to decommission the terminal before casualty is recorded.
She said, “This morning, we have been served a contempt of court while arriving Port Harcourt today. 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 development that each terminal is supposed to do. It was required to rehabilitate and reconstruct that particular terminal and did not do that for years.
“NPA did an inspection to determine that and at the end of which was terminated their concession for failure to adhere to that development plan but, BUA instituted an injunction that prevented NPA from interfering with the concession. We got the injunction in January 2018 to that effect, between January 2018 to June 2019, BUA enjoyed using that terminal in totality with the collapsed quay walls.
“We now received a letter from the same BUA drawing our attention to the fact that the condition of the quay wall is of safety concern 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 having used it for one and half years in that state, we now decommissioned the concession based on health and safety reasons.”
She was however worried that BUA that complained about unsafe status of the terminal charged them for contempt of court.
“The same BUA has gone to court to restrain NPA from implementing the decommissioning that they highlighted that is of safety concern. We were not planning to embark on contempt of court until BUA wrote us that it is now issue of safety. So, I am curious to what contempt of court this is about?
“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 and the rule in port business is safety first. We should be responsible as private entities by adhering to what is required of us and go through the process.”
Stressing an option of dialogue, the MD said, “We are open to out of court settlement and any form of dialogue in the event of all parties understand the correct perspective of the issues but we won’t accept people pretending to be victimised.”
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