The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has applauded the pace of work at the Lekki Deep Seaport project while expressing hope that operational and commercial services at the port would commence by the last quarter of 2022.
The Minister, while on an assessment tour of the port site last Saturday, in the company of senior government functionaries and heads of relevant agencies including Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon. Emmanuel Jime described the level of construction work as very impressive and commended the Bello-Koko-led Management of NPA for availing the contractors the necessary support.
Amaechi charged the contractors to sustain the tempo of work while urging them to re-double their efforts to ensure the scheduled commissioning date and commencement of cargo operations is achieved.
Speaking to the project contractors on his observations, the Minister said: “the last time we came, there was no quay wall, just the breakwaters. But today, there are many visible improvements. It doesn’t mean that you have delivered; it simply means you will achieve it.
The Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port/Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Laurence Smith, thanked the Minister and his team for the visit.
He acknowledged the support and synergy provided by the Bello-Koko led Management of the NPA, especially in the procurement of Vessel Tracking System (VTS) for the Lekki channel and other port locations in the country; procurement of two (2) 80 tons bollard pull ASG Tugboats and two (2) pilot boats for deployment to the Lekki Deep Seaport.
Meanwhile, the Lekki port will have a truck parking area with a capacity for 300 trucks to avoid indiscriminate parking of trucks on the access road to the port when it becomes operational in the next few months.
Construction is ongoing for reefer connections to handle perishable commodities; erection of light masts which will be 25m high, so that the whole area is fully lit 24hrs daily.
Equity owners of the Lekki Deep Seaport are Tolaram Group, China Harbour Engineering Company, Lagos State Government and Nigerian Ports Authority (on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria).
I was never in charge of maritime industry —Saraki
It could also be recalled that Amaechi had made a couple of visits to the Lekki deep seaport, even on a Sunday, before the presidential visit, none of which Saraki attended.
” Gbemi is also made of sterner stuff given her role in the “Otoge” political tsunami in Kwara which eventually swept off Bukola Saraki, her blood brother, from the political dominance in Kwara politics, a role which earned her the present position in the present dispensation.
“Today is my fifth week of assuming the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation”, she declared last week Friday in Lagos.
“We came to take stock of the sector. We had taken the stock of the Road sector,” she said.
Giving her summation of her findings at the end of the tour, she declared” Apapa and Tin Can ports are in terrible need of repairs.
“We will go and come back for repairs.
“We have the short, medium, and long-term plans for this. We need to start with rehabilitation here. Another problem here is power”
The Minister met various groups who are stakeholders in the industry.
Among them are women groups in maritime, terminal operators, stevedores, maritime workers union groups, haulage, and transport operators, maritime lawyers, freight forwarders, and maritime press.
We have political will to ensure CVFF is disbursed—-Saraki
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Rukayyat Gbemisola Saraki has expressed willingness to muster the necessary political will to ensure the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds (CVFF) are disbursed before she leaves office.
“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders, including the indigenous ship owners.
“It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350 million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing.
She added that the disbursement would follow the approval by the National Assembly after beneficiaries must have been shortlisted.
P&ID fraud : Court convicts, winds up Marqott Nigeria Limited.
Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted and wound up Marqott Nigeria Limited, one of the 30 companies associated with the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P & ID, for money laundering.
The company was convicted on Thursday, June 16, 2022, after being found guilty of four-count charges bordering on money laundering preferred against it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Count one of the charges read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of activities of Marqott Nigeria Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Count two read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to develop programs to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Marqott Nigeria Limited, contrary to Section 16(1)(f) read together with Section 9(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.
At the point of the first arraignment on February 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting the stage for a full trial.
In the course of the trial, the EFCC presented many witnesses and tendered many documents as exhibits.
In his judgment, Justice Okorowo found Marqott Nigeria Limited guilty of all the four-count charges and convicted it accordingly. He also ordered that the company be wound up and its entire assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marqott was first arraigned on Monday, February 7, 2022, for being an accomplice in the $9.6bn Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
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