By Ikechi Nzeako – Lagos

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has rejected the claim that the concession of the NPA Warri Old Port Terminal ‘B’ by the BPE/National Privatisation Council (NCP) was illegal.Alex-Okoh

A statement signed by head of Public Communication at BPE, Alex Okoh , said that the port was one of the 24 terminals concessioned by the BPE in 2006 to Associated Marine Services (AMS), adding that at the time of the concession, the terminal was in bad shape and, therefore, it was not possible for the concessionaire (AMS) to operate it.Alex stated further that as a result bad state of the terminal, AMS was relocated to Terminal ‘A’ Warri New Port, adding that during that period, Terminal ‘B’ Old Port underwent partial rehabilitation with the construction of a modern quay wall/apron.

According to him, on therecommendation of the NPA and Federal Ministry of Transport (FMoT), the NCP approved the re-concession of the partially rehabilitated terminal.

Alex said BPE commenced the process with placement of advertisements requesting for Expressions Of Interest (EOIs) from interested bidders in some selected national dailies.

However, a group, NPA Warri Port Stakeholders Forum, addressed a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan saying that the ongoing concession of the Warri Old Port Terminal ‘B’ by NCP through the bureau was illegal.

The petitioners alleged that BPE was working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and office of the Vice President to concession the terminal to ‘their cronies’.

They further alleged that the BPE’s action was ‘illegal’ as they were usurping the ‘powers’ and ‘functions’ of ICRC urged “Mr. President to stop the BPE or else the ‘petitioners’ would take up the matter with the incoming administration or resort to court action.

However, Alex stated that the concession was properly done, as according to him, it was advertised in some national newspapers and the date for the submission of EOIs was indeed extended by two weeks from July 22 to August 7, 2014.

He said that the ‘petitioners’ did not respond to the adverts, which ran for six weeks, rather they wrote on September 10, 2014, after the adverts had closed and EOIs harvested, requesting for inclusion of a company- VINOT Integrated Services Ltd as part of the bidders.

He said BPE responded via a letter dated November 28, 2014 explaining that it was impossible to include VINOT as part of the bidders after the closure of the advert, as doing so would violate the bidding process which we the bureau had always adopted in line with international best practices and advised that VINOT should await the next stage in the process, which was the Request for Proposal (RFP).

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