Members of House of Representatives have been left with eggs on their faces after the majority shareholder of maritime logistics company, Intels Nigeria Limited, Gabriele Volpi, apologised to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria government over the crisis that led to termination of the company’s pilotage agreement.
The House of Representatives had on Wednesday urged the government to reverse the termination of the pilotage contract, even before an investigation.
The lower legislative body also set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the legality of the termination of the contract.
The resolution followed a motion raised under matters of urgent public importance by Diri Duoye, Bayelsa-PDP. Mr Duoye said said the termination of the contract will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
“About 7000 Nigerians work for INTELS and terminating the contract will have negative effects on local content & will lead to unemployment.”
He was supported by Ekpo Attah, Akwa-Ibom-PDP, who said the motion is important and “status quo” should be maintained.
“Intels employs a lot of people. I submit that this motion is very pertinent and Intels should be returned.”
However, in an interview with ThisDay newspaper, Mr Volpi who co-founded Intels with former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, extended an olive branch.
He explained that he was not involved in the botched negotiation between Intels and the NPA and pledged that his company would transfer all the revenue collected from the boat monitoring and supervision services to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) as the NPA had demanded.
“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,” Mr. Volpi was quoted as saying.
He said Intels will cooperate with the federal government and the NPA in the development of Nigeria’s maritime sector, including the construction of the Badagry deep seaport in Lagos State.
Following the revocation of its pilotage contract, Intels had threatened to walk away from its multi-billion dollars investment at the Badagry deep seaport in Lagos.
“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,” Mr. Volpi said.
The NPA said they relied on advice from the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to terminate the contract.
Intels has earlier, faulted the termination, saying it would challenge it in court.