PORT TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK: Stakeholders PROTEST FG’S Approval Of New Tank Farm

chairperson of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup

 

Despite the nightmarish traffic snarl on the access roads leading to Lagos ports, it was reported that the Federal government has approved the construction of a new tank farm on Creek Road, Apapa area of Lagos.

If the construction proceeds, the already terrible congestion on the road will worsen and further put the economy under pressure through increased cost of cargo clearance.

The new tank farm, the report said will attract additional 800 trucks to Apapa which will further worsen the carnage on the nation’s port city.

The report said a source at the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, that doesn’t want to be quoted, said the bitumen tank farm (an asphalt, also known as bitumen is a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum) is owned by a company simply called Wadeco.

Approval was said to have been given some years back. The tank farm which had the approval of Lagos State government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was initially located close to the  Dangote sugar refinery.

Meanwhile, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), has decried reports that the Federal Government has granted approval for an oil company to open a new tank farm on Creek Road, Apapa.

Protesting the construction of a new tank farm, chairperson of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, described the reported approval as ill-timed and ill-advised. Haastrup disclosed that the report indicated that the tank farm, currently being constructed, has a capacity to hold up to 50 million litres of petroleum products, and would attract about 800 additional trucks per day into the already congested Apapa area.

According to the STOAN Chairman; “It is unheard of that anyone will conceive the idea of setting up a tank farm in Apapa at this time. Government should review this approval so that the problem facing the port community and residents of Apapa is not compounded.” She said in addition to bad roads and the absence of truck parks; the preponderance of tank farms and oil depots has largely contributed to the menacing gridlock in Apapa.

According to Haastrup, “There is an over-concentration of oil tank farms in Apapa, which is an area predominantly designed for port operations. There is now a situation where we have proliferation of oil tank farms without regards for the safety and logistical implications.

“Government needs to consider relocating even the existing tank farms out of Apapa and discontinue approval for new ones. “Tank farms should normally be located several miles away from the city and from the port area for safety reasons.”

She also advocated more efficient traffic management systems in Apapa to enhance the movement of vehicles while ongoing construction work lasts. “There is a need to open up the inner roads to allow for free flow of traffic. We also need efficient traffic control measures to allow for free movement of trucks.

At present, several cargoes are trapped in the port because of the bad roads and the truck queues on the road,” she said.

In September 2017, the Lagos State House of Assembly called on the Federal Government to relocate tank farms from Apapa as a way out of the current gridlock in the area. A member representing Apapa Constituency 1, Mojisola Miranda, who raised the issue under matters of urgent public importance during plenary, said activities of tank farm operators in Apapa were not only affecting traffic in the area, but also negatively affecting free flow of traffic in other parts of the state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIX: chairperson of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup

Cabotage: SOAN Asks FG to Stop Waivers to Foreign Shipping Companies

SOAN President, Engr Greg Ogbeifun

 

The Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has expressed deep worry that despite persistent protests by indigenous ship owners and other concerned shipping industry stakeholders, the federal government has continued to grant waivers to foreign shipping operators.

The association said the practice is aiding the foreign operators to continue to dominate coastal shipping business in the country, thus making it impossible for indigenous operators to survive and assist in creating employment opportunities for the citizens.

SOAN President, Engr Greg Ogbeifun, who conveyed the displeasure in Lagos during a media briefing to herald the association’s special workshop and annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for December, said the country must optimally harvest her maritime endowments especially in the area of creating employment opportunities for the youths.

PIX: 1

Ogbeifun while urging the Federal Government to pay special attention to shipping development, condemned the arbitrary increase in charges by shipping companies without recourse to regulatory authorities.

He lamented the lack of protection of indigenous ship owners by concerned government agencies. The agencies which their actions encourage the continued dominance of foreign operators even in local shipping operations, he said, include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NAPIMS and the Nigerian (local) Content Board.

He commended the Federal Government and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for recently demonstrating what he said is “readiness to break the jinx of disbursing the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which is derived from fees paid by shippers doing business in Nigeria”

On the modalities for the disbursement the fund, SOAN urged the government to utilize the template already provided by the primary lending institutions (PLI) and commence the disbursement to shipping companies who have met the prescribed requirements.

Speaking on the SOAN’s end-of-the year workshop, titled “Giving Critical Life-line to the Nigerian Maritime Industry”, Ogbeifun noted that the event would provide a unique opportunity for participants to discuss financing and other specific ways of improving the maritime sector, in order to tap its latent opportunities for employment generation and the country’s economic growth.

INTELS Vs NPA: Taming of the Rampaging Tiger

Intels Vs NPA
For the third time since it berthed in Nigeria more than 30 years ago as NICOTES, Integrated Logistics Services Limited (Intels) is facing a major survival battle. The major difference this time is that its business dealings are so damning and the present management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) seems to be allergic to inducement. Okey Ibeke undertook an extensive investigation of the aggressive business practices of the company and how it developed a stranglehold on oil and gas services.
Coming at a time that the heat was already on as permutations and jostling for the 2019 elections were already in full gear, it was inevitable that political motives would be inputted into the decision to cancel one of the contracts that made Intels a behemoth in maritime, oil and gas services.
The numerous contracts which effectively made the company a monopoly saw Intels grow exponentially to become second only to the NNPC in terms of revenue collection and dominance of service provision. Adding the now terminated contract signed with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in 2007, for the provision of pilotage services, Intels had exploited its extensive political connection to squeeze its way into becoming an aggressive tiger that dared and always won.
THE CONTRACTS
In January 1, 1999, NPA and Intels agreed to enter a joint venture. In the agreement, both parties undertook to provide facilities, services and logistics to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria by using and developing their contributions. Each of the parties’ contributions to the joint venture was spelt out in the agreement. NPA was expected to contribute:
·        Port facilities under existing long term lease given to Intels
·        Port facilities already being utilized by Intels and
·        Additional land within or outside the port premises which may be required for future business development.
All the port facilities and land will be allocated by NPA to Intels for the joint venture on the written request by Intels and at no cost whatsoever. NPA was also obliged to:
·        Provide facilities and land required by the joint venture as a contribution for which 20 percent of declared profit shall be set aside to cover rent for the facilities.
·        Implement the Ports Act of 1955 as well as other port rules and regulations to maximize the use of government facilities and services.
·        Direct all the oil and gas related cargoes to be transiting through the facilities operated by the joint ventures in Warri, Onne and Calabar ports.
·        Seek to maximize its revenue and shall therefore adopt pricing strategies including differential pricing to bring this about. The joint venture shall not be circumcised by any requirement other than profit maximization.
·        Guarantee that port facilities, land and services needed, used or required for the present and future use by the joint venture partners are not given out to other parties which may not be in line with the objectives of the Joint venture.
PIX1: NPA Head Office
On the other hand, Intels was expected to contribute to the joint venture all agreements it has with oil producing companies, oil servicing companies as well as construction and transport companies. It will also contribute camp facility infrastructure developed so far. Other contributions and obligations of Intels include:
·        Port facilities and infrastructures developed alongside equipment presently owned.
·        Development and construction of warehouses and stacking area facilities based upon technical proposal which will be approved by NPA.
·        Financing worldwide marketing of joint venture facilities and services
·        Development, construction and maintenance of boreholes and pipelines for drill and fresh water supply at Onne, Warri and Calabar ports.
For all its investments through huge port facilities as well as the maximisation of the use of government facilities, NPA is entitled to just 20 percent of declared profit after tax while Intels gets 80 percent. The agreement also provides that “anything reinvested into the Joint venture out of its profit will be considered as investment thereof” and that “upon expiration or termination of the agreement, the investment value shall be shared between the parties on the same basis as provided for in the profit.
If the January 1999 agreement was outrageous, an updated version entered into by the two organisations on April 27, 2001, was seen by many operators in the port industry as a sell out.
On the portion that affects land allocation, it was agreed that with effect from April 27, 2001, the date for the commencement of the MoU, “the Authority reserves the right to allocate any parcel of land or premises lying within the ports to any service provider.
“However, the Authority shall with the written approval of the Managing Director give Intels the right of first option. Where Intels fails to notify NPA of its interest within one month, it is only then that NPA can consider another firm.”
PIX2: Intels Head Office
Under the MoU, Intels undertook to develop and maintain port facilities.  This,  as explained in the MoU, means that “Intels shall develop all areas and premises granted to it under the lease or which shall hereafter be allocated to it as oil service centres which shall be used amongst other things as oil and gas logistics support bases and are expected to enhance the value of the Authority’s port facilities.
“Intels shall mobilize and attract oil producing and oil servicing companies to the ports and undertake to assist the Authority with the development and maintenance of all port premises and facilities by virtue of the lease or of any subsequent allocations made hereunder fall or shall subsequently fall within its authority or jurisdiction:
a.                In the event that Intels constructs/develops a jetty/quay aprons same being a common user facility, the specifications and cost of which shall have been approved in writing by the                        Authority’s Managing Director before the construction, Intels shall be reimbursed by the Authority for the cost of the development.
b.               Intels shall develop the stacking areas and warehouses at no extra cost to the Authority.
c.                However, the cost of the maintenance of jetty/quay aprons, stacking areas, warehouses, boreholes and other related facilities, shall be re-imbursed to Intels.
They agreed also that, “the defrayment of the cost incurred by Intels for the maintenance shall be in accordance with the Authority’s guidelines on the operation of leases, areas of three years and above on the ratio of 50:50.
The MoU deliberately gave monopoly to Intels, conferring on it lordship over their competitors. With the status of being operator, regulator and caretaker, Intels rolled out charges for its numerous services, many denominated in US dollars and left the users of its services reeling and helpless.
The authority granted Intels the right to administer the Oil and Gas Free Zone and controversially ceded the licensing of prospective operators to the company. This created an unusual situation where the company became judge over the fate of its rivals and competitors. Such was the pervading use of that power that its only significant rival, Aero Maritime Group, the holding company for Brawal found it very difficult to secure license to operate at the free zone. Rather than grant it license it legitimately applied for, attempts were made to buy out Brawal by Intels
The MoU was signed on behalf of NPA by the then managing director, Mallam Bello Ibrahim Gwandu, while the General Manager of Intels, Danic Miskovic, signed on behalf of the company.
PIX3: Mallam Bello Ibrahim Gwandu, Fmr NPA MD
THE CONTENTIOUS PILOTAGE CONTRACT
Under the ten years pilotage contracts entered in 2007, all ships of 35 metres overall length or greater are mandated to pay a pilotage fee to accounts owned and operated by Intels unless they possess a valid Pilotage Exemption Certificate.
Intels collects the fees on NPA’s behalf and retains 28 per cent of the revenue as commission. The commission is deducted only after Intels would have discounted the cost of providing services to its clients. In doing that, there is no template for determining the operational cost in providing the services. NPA is merely handed 18% of the remaining 72% and rest goes towards amortization.
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S GREEN LIGHT TO HIT THE TIGER 
For Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of NPA, it was an agreement that flew in the face of national interest. Contrary to general perception that the cancelation of the contract was politically motivated, 15 months earlier, Ms Usman had initiated the process of revisiting and reviewing the contract which she saw as heavily skewed against public interest.
Having drawn the attention of the Intels management to the express requirements of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Usman repeatedly invited its leadership to review the contentious aspects of the agreement. She was equally repeatedly rebuffed. Eventually,  the NPA boss reverted to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, seeking his advice on how to proceed.
PIX4: Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami
That singular move triggered the chain of events that doomed what was seen as Intels’ arrogance and sure-footedness.
In the letter titled: “Request for Clarification of Conflict Between Executed Agreement and Federal Government Treasury Single Account Policy,” the attorney general responded: “I refer to your letter dated 31st May 2017, ref: MD/17/MF/Vol.XX/583 in respect of the above subject matter wherein you sought clarification on the legal issues implicated by the continuous implementation of the Managing Agent Contract Agreement dated 11th February 2010 executed between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Intels Nigeria Limited for the provision of boats pilotage operations, in the light of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Treasury Singe Account (TSA) policy.
“Upon my review of your letter under reference and the relevant agreements, I have been able to conclude inevitably that the terms of the agreement as agreed by parties and the dynamics of its implementation which permits Intels to receive revenue generated on behalf of NPA ab initio, clearly violates express provisions of Sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). It is thus curious that parties did not avert their minds to the above provisions of the constitution whilst negotiating the agreement.
“The inherent illegality of the agreement as formed has since been expounded by the TSA policy issued by the Head of Service of the Federation on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria directing all ministries, departments and agencies to collect payment of all revenues due to the federal government or any of her agencies through the TSA.
“The objective of the presidential directive (TSA policy) in exercise of the executive powers of the president under Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was in furtherance of the spirit and intent of Sections 80 and 162 of the constitution and to aid transparency in government revenue collection and management.
“NPA being an agency of the federal government is bound by the TSA policy and has not howsoever been exempt therefrom. Due to the constitutional nature of the TSA, where there is a conflict between the TSA and the terms of the agreement, the TSA shall prevail.
“Therefore all monies due to the NPA currently being collected by Intels and any other agents/third parties on behalf of NPA must henceforth be paid into the TSA or any of the sub-accounts linked thereto in the Central Bank of Nigeria (information of the account will be communicated in due course) in accordance with the TSA policy.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the agreement for the monitoring and supervision of pilotage districts in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria on terms inter alia that permits Intels to receive revenue generated in each pilotage district from service boat operations in consideration for 28% of total revenue as commission to Intels is void, being a contract ex facie illegal as formed for permitting Intels to receive federal government revenue contrary to the express provisions of Sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which mandates that such revenue must be paid into the Federation Account/Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“In the premise of the above, the conflict between the agreement and the TSA policy presents a force majeure event under the agreement, and NPA should forthwith commence the process of issuing the relevant notices to Intels exiting the agreement which indeed was void ab initio.”
Drawing the attention of Usman to the illegality of the agreement, Malami declared that the agreement violates Sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the constitution, and wondered that the parties – NPA and Intels – did not avert their minds to the relevant provisions when they were negotiating the agreement in 2010.
Section 80(1) of the constitution states: “All revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.”
Section 162(1) states: “The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called ‘the Federation Account’ into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
While sub-section 10 of the same section states: “For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, ‘revenue’ means any income or return accruing to or derived by the Government of the Federation from any source and includes: (a) any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law; (b) any return, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the Government of the Federation; (c) any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory body.”
When NPA gave vent to the Attorney General’s directive, Intels’ initial reaction was to adopt a combination of bluffing and threat. The company first gave NPA seven days to recant or it will withdraw its commitment as one of the key investors in the Badagry Deep Seaport development and go to court. It also used organised labour and the National Assembly to embark on scare mongering about the damage on the economy and loss of jobs the contract revocation would engender. It also accused NPA of frustrating its efforts at negotiating a resolution of the issue.
 
THE NPA’S STAND
 
  •  After terminating the agreement, the NPA says it won’t back down because Intels has been acting as though the laws of the country do not apply to it.  “INTELS wanted to continue to do the job and deduct their money from source and then remit the balance to NPA, due to the fear of delay. I have assured them that the money would be paid within seven working days and where we exceed these days, we would be ready to pay for the delays.  No company is above the law and it is only when all corporate entities obey the laws of the country that everyone benefits.  There must be a level playing field for all players in the sector and this is the commitment of the NPA”, said the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
  • She said the government would open a fresh bidding in a transparent manner for prospective contractors.
  • She has assured staff of the company that once they possess the required skills, the new contractor would engage their services.
INTELS’ EATING OF THE HUMBLE PIE
When all efforts at blackmail, manipulation and intimidation of NPA into submission failed, Intels, ultimately ate the humble pie. Its founder and majority shareholder, Mr. Gabriele Volpi, apologised to the federal government and NPA over the spat that led to the termination of the Pilotage Agency Agreement with his company.
PIX5: Intels founder and majority shareholder, Mr. Gabriele Volpi
Volpi pledged to ensure that Intels undertakes a reconciliation process with the NPA and transfers all the revenue collected from the boats monitoring and supervision services under the agreement in to the TSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in compliance with the policy of the federal government.
“We want to apologise to the federal government and NPA over this disagreement with Intels. I was not personally involved in the negotiations with NPA, but we apologise for what has happened. We intend to comply with the directive of government and transfer all the revenue to the TSA because we are a law-abiding company,” Volpi said.
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.
PIX6: Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman
“We are committed to co-operating with the government and NPA in the development of Nigeria’s maritime sector and this includes the Badagry deep seaport.
“The Badagry deep seaport is a massive undertaking which will cost billions of dollars and will be the biggest in Africa and would turn Nigeria into a regional hub for ships bringing goods to the continent.
“It will also help to move a lot of shipping activities at the Apapa and Tin-can Island ports and help to decongest Apapa, so we are serious about our investments in Nigeria,” he said.
For a company that had had a field day riding roughshod over its less endowed competitors and imposing arbitrary charges on users of its services, the meek statement from Volpi was almost shocking. At what point did the change in fortunes decisive?
 
 
IN THE PAST
 
There had been numerous complaints and petitions to NPA, Transport Ministry, Presidency and National Assembly against Intels bordering on fraud and deliberate anti-competition and monopolistic practices that were aimed at squeezing out Intels’ competitors.
An organization, CORNCERNED YOUTHS CONGRESS OF NIGERIA (CYCN), had in a 2001 open letter to then President Olusegun Obasanjo and published as an advertorial in several national dailies, leveled many allegations against Intels.
The organization had in a letter signed by James O. O. Tonglobim as president and Dokubur C. J. Tamuno as secretary, alleged that Intels was collecting revenue on behalf of the government in dollars, which it remitted to its London account, while it paid NPA in naira, the local currency.
They also alleged among other things that “it was an open secret that whenever a new Minister of Transport is appointed, Intels arranges oversea trips for him to buy him over. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can investigate this.” They had alleged that “some top officials of NPA are on the payroll of Intels. This is probably why everyone that ought to have complained (about the agreement) has kept quite as if nothing was wrong when in actual sense things are being destroyed”.
Two weeks after the publication of the petition, the federal government suspended the Intels contract and NPA was ordered to take over the operations of Intels while the company was also suspended from participating in the concessioning programme.
But barely six months later, in a statement signed by Dr. Aliyu Babangida, who was then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and later governor of Niger State, the suspension was lifted.
The lifting of the suspension was sequel to the recommendations of a committee set up by the then Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo with Babangida as chairman and Chief Adebayo Sarumi, then managing director of NPA as member.
The statement read “sequel to the suspension of Intels operations at Onne port and all concessioning programme involving it on December 5th 2005, the Honourable Minister of Transport, Dr. Precious Abiye Sekibo has directed the lifting of the suspension”.
“The NPA is therefore to revert back to its statutory role and handover the operations as affected by the suspension back to Intels, while the Ministry of Transport and NPA in conjunction with other stakeholders shall implement the recommendations of the committee as approved” it concluded.
Typical of many other government’s actions, the statement was silent on the findings of the panel.  It never mentioned whether Intels was actually found guilty of the numerous allegations against it.
When the government constituted the committee, maritime watchers and some officials of the Transport Ministry and NPA strongly questioned the rationale behind the action especially as almost all the members of the investigative committee were not new to Intels activities.
A cross section of maritime stakeholders highly placed source at NPA, then told Business and Maritime West Africa that there is no information about Intels that was unknown to the government, especially the key members of the probe committee.
It will be recalled that Dr. Babangida, the then Permanent Secretary and chairman of the committee was the Director of Maritime Services in that same Ministry, when the contract between Intels and NPA was signed.
The same source also revealed that all the facts about the agreement and Intels’ charges were all along in the file cabinet of Alhaji Baba Umar Farouk, the Director of Maritime Services in the Ministry at the time of the investigation who was a member of the committee, adding that there is no new facts to be investigated by the director.
Business and Maritime West Africa findings also showed that Chief Adebayo Sarumi, who also served in the panel cannot claim ignorance of Intels’ operations, especially when he was appointed the chief executive of NPA and, by virtue of his position,  was the first line supervisor of Intels. Same goes for Mr. Charles Adeola, the Secretary of the panel, who as the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the ministry cannot absolve himself of not knowing the details of Intels’ infractions.
Unlike her predecessors, Usman refrained from exposing herself to inordinate contact with Intels.
Inside sources at the ministry revealed that as alleged by the Concerned Youths’ Congress of Nigeria, Intels had managed to run the alleged very lopsided MOU it signed with NPA irrespective of numerous protests and petitions from many quarters.
This, they attributed to the fact that past and present top managers including past managing directors, executive directors, general managers, past Ministers of Transport, Directors in the Ministry, key NPA staff and board members, members of committees of National Assembly that exercise oversight functions on maritime, as well as some highly placed individuals both within and outside the ministry may have been inordinately patronised by Intels.
The information available to BMWA indicated that most of them enjoyed oversea courses and other trips abroad which were sponsored by Intel some and a lot of other patronages even at the time of the suspension.
In the period leading to the concessioning of ports, the arrangement between NPA and Intels had been roundly projected as the ideal example of landlord model in port management
THE COMPANY
Intels has been in Nigeria for many years with a long term leasehold of over 92,260 square meters of available space in cargo sheds and warehouses in the ports across the Niger Delta area of the country.
At Onne ports which is the hub of oil and gas operations for the West and Central Africa, Intels almost became the sole operator, reducing its landlord, NPA and other competitors to mere appendages.
The 2015 suspension of Intels’ operations by the administration was not the first time it fell victim of its greed. Under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, the company was called NICOTES. When late General Sani Abacha came, he decided to withdraw all concessions and leaseholds given to NICOTES.
But like the phoenix, it reinvented itself and bounced back. To earn the mercy of Abacha, the company quickly realigned its ownership structure, accommodated Abacha’s interest and changed its name to Intels. And on the coming of the Fourth Republic in May 1999, the company again quickly readjust its ownership structure, and business got better. The concessions and leaseholds seized during Abacha regime were all returned.
Intels provides integrated logistic facilities and services to the oil and gas industry, especially in Nigeria and Angola with expansion in Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Among its areas of operations, however, none offers an unusual lucrative business climate like in Nigeria. The key to Intels’ stranglehold on the ports system is a controversial agreement it entered into with the Nigerian Ports Authority that was seen to be heavily skewed in favour of the company.
Relying on its political connections with the military top brass during the regime of General Abdusalam Abubakar, Intels progressively acquired favourable lease agreements with the NPA.
At the Warri ports, it occupied three of the five cargo sheds and warehouses with available space in excess of 21,600m2. Six of the two sheds at the Warri Port were managed by Intels while six of the seven warehouses at the port were also managed by the company. The warehouses have a combined holding capacity of over 12,920m2.
At Onne Port which was Intels main operational base, the company had only Brawal to contend with. Two of the three sheds each with over 6000m2 were managed by Intels. Brawal holds the third. The new Calabar Port is not beyond Intels’ tentacles where it had 7,000m2 space at Etuk Utan I.
What drew more flak for Intels was that it also floated DMS International Management Services, PRODECO and many other companies which they used in haulage business, stevedoring contracting, ship chandling, provision of accommodation, supply vessels, catering, freight forwarding and clearing, construction, bunkering and all manner of businesses in their areas of operation to further its dominance of services in the area.
The cancelation of the pilotage contract has opened a fresh chapter on disposal and sharing of assets when the company’s services are no longer required.
The agreement is completely silent on transfer of investments whenever both the “Agreement” and “MoU” no longer exist between the two parties. They contained only provisions on development, operation and profit sharing. Besides, the agreement states that “during the duration of this agreement, an additional contribution of facilities and services shall be made by NPA to the Joint Venture.”
The agreement however shields Intels from fulfilling its financial obligations under previous lease agreements. The parties agreed that the validity of the existing lease agreement between NPA and Intels shall not be affected by this agreement, other than that Intels will not be charged any fees or charges on the lease from the commencement of the joint venture.
It is obvious that on the expiration of the joint venture, Intels will still corner everything. This is because, the MOU stated that upon expiration or termination of this agreement, the commercial value of the land will be mutually established and all non-re-imbursable investment made by Intels will be recognized and compensated accordingly. Re-imbursed investments shall be shared in line with the provision of this agreement at the rate of 20 per cent to NPA and 80 per cent to Intels.
Even high net worth organisations like shipping companies, oil firms, banks and allied port related firms who were using properties leased to Intels said the rents were high and that they were made to pay between three and four years rent in advance.
Following the suspension of Intels from participating in the recently concluded port concession, the fate of the company’s successful gross bid of 251.41 million dollars for Onne Federal Lighter Terminal ‘B’, Onne Federal Ocean Terminal ‘A’, Warri Old Terminal ‘A’,  Warri New Terminal ‘B’ and Calabar New Terminal “A”, became another subject of speculations.
PIX7: Onne Lighter Terminal
But like in the movies, where the main actor always survives against all odds, the concession of the terminals were granted to Intels as they bidded before the suspension. The company is operating the terminals now unhindered, with little or no regulation and even at higher tariff structure.
The pilotage contract is just one of the numerous businesses and services Intels is involved either directly by itself or on behalf of NPA. Certainly, even though it eventually is unable to regain, the contract, Intels will remain a dominant player in Nigeria’s shipping industry.

How Africa’s richest woman became ‘unemployed’

She is the first daughter of the former President of Angola.

The political reformation by President João Lourenço of Angola has thrown Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos out of job.

Isabel was earlier today, November 16, 2017, sacked as the chief of Sonangol – Angola’s state-run oil firm by the new Angolan President who succeeded her father.

Isabel is the first daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos—who ruled the African country for 38 years before stepping down in August 2017. According to Forbes, she is estimated to worth $3.5 billion, thus making her the wealthiest woman in the continent.

President João Lourenço of Angola
President João Lourenço of Angola

 (http://www.newsweek.com)

This move as noted is part of plans by President Lourençoá to curtail the power of the dos Santos Dynasty in the Southern African country. Also, some of these reforms is a confirmation of Lourenço’s vow during his campaign to distance himself from the legacy of his predecessor.

Angola is one of Africa’s most oil-rich countries with Nigeria as rival for the status of Africa’s biggest oil producer. Oil export accounts for over 93 percent of the country’s export and a major part of government revenue.

She is noted for her hardworking and determination to make a difference.She is noted for her hardworking and determination to make a difference.

 (Maka Angola)

According to Reuters, the presidency did not give a reason for the dismissal of dos Santos but was immediately replaced with Carlos Saturnino.

Despite this unexpected relief, Isabel’s fortune may not be affected due to her huge investments in other major companies in the country and Portugal.

5 most stable and developed democracies in Africa

These Democracies have faced their face of the tough test and threat but stood their ground.

Democracy is a system of governing where citizens elect people to represent them, make decisions on their behalf and guide them. For the black continent, it is a system just evolving and gaining more acceptance.

As such, some countries seem to have gotten the hang of democracy over the years while others like Zimbabwe and others, not so much.

These African countries have been identified to have the most efficient and long-lasting democratic governments.

1.  Zambia

Zambia, which was known as Northern Rhodesia, became a republic after it gained independence in 1964.

It is a country with a population of 16 million people, and has enjoyed a long stint of democracy since 1991. This is after its Prime Minister, Kenneth Kaunda voluntarily resigned after 3 decades of ruling.

In 2010, Zambia was named of the world’s fastest economically reformed countries by the World Bank.  As at 2016, the country was ranked 77 on the Global Democracy Index.

2.  Kenya

Although Kenya went through a political turmoil during Presidential elections in 2007, it has one of the most stable democracies in Africa.

There has been over five successive transitional processes in the country since independence. Also, an attempt by the Military to seize power in 1982 was stopped by people’s efforts.

Kenya’s position on the Democracy Index as of 2016 is currently 92.

3.  Tanzania

Tanzania got its independence from the Britain in 1962, and has since enjoyed democratic transition of power. In the country, president and members of the country’s National Assembly serve for five year before facing another election.

Last year, the country elected a new President, Mr John Magufuli, and he has begun reform processes that strengthen public institutions in the country.

Tanzania is currently number 83 on the Democracy Index as of 2016.

4.  Senegal

Senegal is a country of 13 million citizens. It is one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup or any harsh authoritarian leadership since Independence.

Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, voluntarily handed over power to his Prime Minister in 1981.

In 2016, the country is ranked 75 on the global democracy index.

5. Botswana

Botswana gained independence from the Britain in 1966, and recently celebrated 51 years of freedom. With a population of 2 million citizens, the country boasts of having the fastest growing economy worldwide.

Just like Senegal, Botswana has been lucky not to have experienced a military coup or non-democratic leader.

Botswana ranked  27 on the Democracy Index as of 2016, thus making it one of the highest-ranking African countries on the index.

These African leaders were ousted at the height of their power

A week in African politics can be a very long time. A lot of things usually happen with outcomes habitually bordering on the extreme. A protest here with the government usually responding with terror, a corruption scandal there, a contested election that is often marred with irregularities or voter intimidation, a drought that way, the list is endless.

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa is chronicling African leaders who were forced out of office.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali – Tunisia

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (The Telegraph)

 

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali will be remembered as the first leader to be toppled in what became known as the Arab Spring. After nearly 24 years in in pomp and luxury, he became the former president of Tunisia. Ben Ali was thrown out for economic mismanagement abuse of power.

Hosni Mubarak – Egypt

Hosni Mubarak (CGTN Africa)

 

The 89-year-old, Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years until he was swept from power in a wave of mass protests in February 2011 after he surprised the people of his country by refusing to resign.

Laurent Gbagbo   Ivory Coast

He served in opposition for 20 years and finally came to power in 2000 when military leader Robert Guei’s attempts to rig elections were defeated by street protests in Ivory Coast. The 72-year-old was forced out of office after his unwillingness to to accept defeat at the ballot box. Gbagbo is being tried at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Muammar Gadaffi – Libya

Muammar Gadaffi (Bio.com)

 

The African strongman met his inhumane fate in October 2011 after being in power since 1969. Gaddafi had been Africa’s and the Arab world’s longest-serving ruler. He gave a televised speech amid violent social unrest against his autocratic rule. He promised to hunt down protesters which caused a furor that fuelled the armed rebellion against him.

Madagascar’s Marc Ravalomanana –  Madagascar

Madagascar’s Marc Ravalomanana (lexpress.mu)

 

The 68-year-old Malagasy politician was ousted in 2009 by Andry Rajoelina, a former deejay and mayor of the capital Antananarivo, with the backing of the army following nearly two months of bloody protests that left an estimated 100 people dead. He fled to Swaziland and later moved to South Africa.

Amadou Toumani Toure – Mali

playAmadou Toumani Toure (Alchetron)

 

The 68-year-old was deposed in an apparent coup, first came to power in the arid, land-locked West African country in 1991. Toure, a former army officer, seized power in a coup and was forced out in 2012.

Francois Bozize – Central African Republic

playFrancois Bozize (Reuters)

The 71-year-old became a high-ranking army officer in the 1970s, under the rule of Jean-Bédel Bokassa, another dictator who was ousted in 1979. His problems started in 2011 and culminated into his overthrow in 2013.

Blaise Compaore – Burkina Faso

Ousted Burkina Faso leader, Blaise Compaore (BBC)

 

The 66-year-old was deposed in October 2014 following nationwide protests sparked by his efforts to extend his 27-year hold on power.

Charles Taylor – Liberia

Charles Taylor (BBC)

 

Taylor took power in 1990 after deposing Samuel Doe who was brutally murdered and his genitals cut out, stepped down in 2003, handed over power to vice president Moses Blah and sought for asylum in Nigeria where he was arrested after attempting to escape. The 69-year-old is currently serving a prison term in UK having been convicted by a UN-backed court for war crimes and crimes against humanity over supporting rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone.

READ ALSO: These are some of Africa’s wealthiest families

Kwame Nkrumah – Ghana

Kwame Nkrumah (Graphic Online)

 

The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military and police coup d’état on February 24, 1966. The coup was carried out by lower-ranking military officers and police officials with the direct assistance and coordination by external forces.

How to increase access to cancer treatment in Kenya

Cancer is the third most common cause of death in Kenya, after infectious diseases and heart conditions and accounts for 7% of all deathsin the country. Due to the lack of a national registry, it’s estimated that there are between 22,000 and 41,000 new cancer cases each year.

Patients seeking treatment in both private and public hospitals in sub Saharan Africa face significant barriers that result in advanced disease, misdiagnosis, interrupted treatment, stigma and fear.

Our study – conducted among doctors and cancer support and advocacy groups in Kenya – identified the biggest barriers that hinder access to cancer testing and treatment in Kenya.

These include lack of affordable cancer treatment, lower drug costs, better equipped facilities and specialist doctors. The distance to hospitals and favourable national cancer policies are also major factors.

Barriers to treatment

Kenya has limited specialised health workers and only 12 health facilities diagnose and treat cancer countrywide; seven private hospitals, two mission hospitals and three public facilities. The four radiotherapy centres are located in urban areas.

The study was conducted in January 2016 and only three counties had equipment to diagnose and treat cancer. Our study showed prohibitive costs for tests such as mammograms  that check for breast cancer.

One of the respondents pointed out;

Money is the major concern. In our setup, you can’t even access medical services. The major challenge [to treatment] is lack of finances.

Patients with private insurance and the government sponsored scheme, National Health Insurance Fund, are more likely to undergo treatment than those without insurance. Capping coverage and increasing premiums further deters patients from receiving and completing treatment.

One of the patients said;

If you get cancer, most of the private insurance companies don’t want to take it up because it’s really expensive. If you’re still under the cover, they may pay for the first course of treatment, then after that they give letters that they can’t pay.

Most Kenyans don’t go for routine screening for various types of cancer. This is partly because of lack of accurate information about cancer symptoms which contributes to late presentation by patients who seek medical care when cancer symptoms are present.

People who are uninsured are put off by the prohibitive costs associated with medical checkups, screening and diagnostic tests. The treatment costs depend on the type of the hospital and the extent of the disease. It can range from USD$2,500 to USD$10,000 dollars for doctors’ fees, surgery, drugs and radiation. Subsidised or free routine or annual medical checkups could reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage.

Another deterrent to cancer screening and treatment is the poor attitude of health workers. These attitudes are due to lack of knowledge, social, cultural beliefs and personal biases. Additionally, poor doctor to patient communication determines whether patients seek treatment regardless of the patient’s literacy level.

Some solutions

Kenya needs to develop effective cancer testing and treatment options by training and equipping doctors in health facilities.

Doctors need to be trained to check for cancer more closely in patients. Their key role would be to screen patients at high risk such as those with a family history of cancer or those with predisposing conditions such as HIV/Aids. This greatly reduces the number of patients who seek treatment with advanced disease.

Doctors also need to be trained on patient-centred care and communication. This would improve the patient’s understanding of the disease, compliance with treatment and potentially the outcome.

Countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have set up effective and inexpensive cervical cancer screening interventions for cervical cancer in health facilities from the primary to national level.

A national public health education campaign about the types of cancer and their symptoms would encourage people to seek medical care in time for better outcomes.

Training specialist doctors and equipping health facilities to screen and diagnose cancer can lead to timely treatment for the patients and improve their health outcomes.

Kenya needs to implement its existing cancer policies. It has been slow due to limited finances and reliant on the counties’ readiness to rollout plans. Counties such as Kisii have taken the initiative to proceed with establishing a cancer center that will be operational within the coming weeks. The country’s first cancer treatment, control and prevention policy was created in 2011, followed by the 2012 Cancer Act, which was amended in 2015.

These policies have created a framework for addressing Kenya’s growing cancer burden based on the doctors’ clinical data of seeing more patients every year.

The way forward

Our study makes four policy recommendations to improve access to treatment;

Improve health insurance for patients with cancer. In October 2016, NHIF added cancer to the diseases it will pay for, but this applies only to civil servants. Private insurance caps need to be reviewed to enable patients to complete treatments.

Establish testing and treatment facilities in all counties through the national cancer control plan. This is taking more time than planned due to the need for financial and technical resources at the county level.

Increase public health awareness and education about cancer to improve diagnoses and treatment. A national public health awareness campaign similar to the campaigns to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and remove stigma should be rolled out. This has worked in the US. In Africa, this has began through the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer that provides relevant and accurate information on the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in various African countries.

And finally, doctors should openly discuss treatment options to encourage more patients to live positively with cancer.

Sandra Greene, Stephanie Wheeler, Asheley Skinner and Antonia V. Bennett contributed to this article.

How women bring about peace and change in Liberia

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman to lead an African country. Her two terms in office ended with elections last monthsince, like the United States, presidents in Liberia are barred from serving more than two terms.

Affectionately known as “Ma Ellen,” Sirleaf took office at the end of a 14-year civil war in which an estimated 200,000 Liberians were killed.

Sickened and fatigued by war, thousands of Liberian women, through mass action, brought about an end to the conflict in 2003.

These same women took great risks to elect Sirleaf on her promise to sustain peace and make gender equality central to her administration’s agenda. Some women hid their sons’ voter ID cards to prevent them from voting for Sirleaf’s opponent; others tricked the young men into exchanging their cards for beer; still others managed market stalls while their female owners went to register to vote and watched babies so that mothers could vote on Election Day.

These women, many of whom belong to the Women in Peace Building Network (WIPNET), are identifiable by their white T-shirts with blue WIPNET insignia. They are a powerful, widely respected group for what they have accomplished and continue to fight for.

When Sirleaf came to power in 2005, the world was electrified. On Inauguration Day in January 2006, proud Liberians, world leaders and dignitaries watched as she took the oath of office.

Sirleaf singled out the women in the peace movement, thanking them for their courage, and committed to supporting their agenda. The Sirleaf administration kept some of its promises but with notable challenges. Liberia has tough rape laws, but weak enforcement mechanisms, and in 2016, Parliament signed into a law a new domestic violence bill but removed a ban on female genital mutilation.

At the end of Sirleaf’s two terms in office, peace has held, but the results of progress on gender equality are mixed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shares a laugh with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia in November 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Women and peace huts

Today, some of the powerful grassroots women who brought Sirleaf to power are at the forefront of running what are known as peace huts.Spread across the country, the purposes of these huts are to put women in charge of mediating domestic abuse and other disputes before they escalate, to empower women through entrepreneurial opportunities and to educate them about their rights.

By and large, Liberian women and girls are well aware of their rights, and especially those enshrined in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Adopted in 2000, the resolution recognizes that women bear the brunt and horrors of war, and calls for women’s full participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building. Peace huts in Liberia are instrumental in teaching women — including those not formally educated — about these rights.

Peace huts work for gender equality, peace and human rights. But they do much more. The Ebola crisis of 2014 led to the deaths of an estimated 11,315 people and strained already fragile health-care systems. Women who ran peace huts in some of the communities stepped in to help the sick and dying, and some of them died in the process.

Gains and losses

There is general agreement among most Liberians that the Sirleaf administration stabilized the country and attracted investment. But there are those who also feel that, notwithstanding a staunch patriarchal culture, women have actually lost ground, especially in politics.

Of the 1,026 approved candidates in the election cycle, only 163 were women, and, in a field of 20 candidates, only one woman, Macdella Cooper, ran for president, and she lost badly.

Tackling corruption, infrastructure, youth unemployment and reconciliation by promoting national unity and advancing a peace agenda topped ballot issues in the elections.

Noticeably absent was a targeted focus on addressing violence against women and girls.

Yet the UN Women’s Global Database on Violence Against Women report that 39 per cent of Liberian women between 15-49 years old experience physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of intimate partners at least once in their lifetime.

Women who run peace huts spend much of their time supporting victims of gender-based violence. Where they are available, women work with the police to arrest the alleged perpetrators. But justice for victims is often hampered by a weak legal system.

Nonetheless, Liberian women rightly view themselves as the guardians of a hard-won peace connected to the fight for gender justice. They view peace as foundational to prosperity that can take root only if there is an end to gender-based violence and respect for rights.

An uncertain but hopeful future

The elections on Oct. 10 did not yield clear results. The frontrunners, Sen. George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boaki, were scheduled for a run-off election on Nov. 7. However, the Liberian Supreme Court recently suspended the second round of voting pending an investigation into allegations of “fraud and irregularities.”

It is, therefore, too early to tell if gender equality will top the new administration’s agenda, but there’s room for guarded optimism.

Large groups of activist women in Liberia are prepared to continue to fight for equality and are unafraid to do so. Wearing their WIPNET T-shirts, women have come out in force in recent years to press the government to change or implement laws, usually with the support of an engaged public.

The new administration would do well to work with women in the peace huts and in civil society to achieve success. Without a strong voice for gender equality, it’s unlikely that the new Liberian government will realize its political goals.

Somaliland’s voting technology shows how Africa can lead the world

Africa has become a testing ground for technological leapfrogging. This is a process that involves skipping stages and moving rapidly to the frontiers of innovation.

Technological leapfrogging in Africa has, so far, focused on economic transformation and the improvement of basic services. Drones are a good example: they’re used in the continent’s health services and in agriculture. In South Africa, robots play a crucial role in mining.

Now, in a remarkable extension of technological leapfrogging, Somaliland has become the first country in the world to use iris recognition in a presidential election. This means that a breakaway republic seeking international recognition will have the world’s most sophisticated voting register.

Democracy and tech in Africa

Somaliland’s shift to such advanced voting technology emerged from a lack of trust because of problems with the 2008 elections. For instance, names were duplicated in the voter register because of pressure from local elders. These fraudulent activities and other logistical issues threatened to undermine Somaliland’s good standing in the international community.

Of course, Somaliland is not the only country in Africa to experience problems with its election processes. Others, like Kenya, have also turned to technology to try and deal with their challenges. This is important. Being able to hold free, fair and credible elections is critical in democratic transitions. The lack of trust in the electoral process remains a key source of political tension and violence.

Technology can help – and Somaliland is set to become a regional powerhouse in the production and deployment of the technological know-how that underpins electronic voting.

So how did Somaliland reach this point? And what lessons do its experiences hold for other countries?

Important lessons

The first lesson, then, relates to political will. Since 1991, Somaliland has operated as an autonomous state trying to build new institutions. One of its central goals is to gain international recognition as a sovereign state. Being able to conduct free, fair, credible and just elections is central to this goal and its international image. Somaliland wants to rank highly in the indices of democratic performance – and that’s a strong driver to develop and embrace electoral practices that are in line with international standards.

The second involves problem-solving and incremental technological learning. Somaliland wanted to reduce voter duplication. It compared the efficacy of different face, finger and iris recognition technologies, and this assessment showed that iris recognition was superior.

Pilot efforts then allowed for lessons in the design of the system, which helped to reduce anxiety over the consequences of possible failure during elections. It also made the process transparent; interested users could access the available datasets. This enhanced public trust.

Somaliland has also wisely used international experts in biometrics. Much of the debate about the use of electronic voting systems centres on how the technology is procured. The country sought the support of Notre Dame University in the US in 2014. Their world class work on biometrics is led by Professor Kevin Bowyer. Such partnerships ensure technical expertise. This, in turn, helps boost ordinary people’s trust in their country’s electoral system.

The shift to electronic voting has also influenced the conduct of some observation missions. In Somaliland, electoral observation will in future include examinations of the iris recognition technology. This changes the expertise needed to observe elections.

This approach is in sharp contrast with the 2017 Kenya elections. There, international observers used traditional monitoring methods – and validated an election that was later annulled by the country’s Supreme Court. It was a case where electoral institutions had not caught up with technology.

Wider issues

This raises some wider issues that need to be addressed so that they don’t get in the way of this progression.

The first is to emphasise that the technology, in most cases, will enhance and upgrade political infrastructure – even if they appear to bypass or replace it. For example, there are concerns that drones, used to transport medical supplies in places like Rwanda and Tanzania, divert financial resources from multi-purpose infrastructure like roads. In fact, the use of drones in medical supplies expands infrastructure options. They allow countries to align delivery means with specific needs, in a timely and efficient manner.

Secondly, technological and service leapfrogging usually go together. This has been demonstrated in Africa’s mobile revolution. The widespread adoption of the Mpesa money transfer system best illustrates this point, as it is about changes in consumer behaviour and local manufacturing.

Finally, there are ample opportunities for international joint ventures in technological leapfrogging across Africa. Many of them however are being smothered by taxation and regulations. This is partly because of the pressure to generate state revenue and partially due to a lack of understanding.

With more products and processes to trade with, the world stands to benefit from Africa’s increased participation in the global technology market. And it is encouraging to see that this is a movement which has the political support of African presidents; a support reflected in the adoption of the Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa Strategy (STISA-2024) by the African Union.

For now, Africa’s technological futures are not only open but expanding in all directions. Somaliland’s application in improving governance is the tip of the iceberg. It creates exciting possibilities for the continent to provide leadership in other areas of technological advancement.