Aggrieved NPA cargo bidders to seek judicial redress
A group of aggrieved bidders in the ongoing Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) cargo bid contracts process have threatened to drag the management’s agency to court over what they alleged was a manipulation of the exercise.
The aggrieved bidders had, in the last few weeks, raised alarm on alleged attempts by some top management staff of the NPA to award the contracts to their ‘incompetent companies.’
The bidders, who did not want to be named met in Abuja during the week to deliberate on the issue, said they have resorted to taking legal action against the ports authority in order to compel the management to follow due process and criteria as outlined in the Procurement Act.
The bidders who did not want to be named, said they were also strategizing on how to put their case before the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as send a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the alleged abuse of due process that the management of NPA employs to ‘handpick’ companies for the contract.
“We are ready to invoke the Freedom of Information Act to ask the NPA management to make public names of companies that were disqualified and reasons why they were disqualified. We shall also seek redress in court to compel the management to open up on the bidding process. Therefore, we want to advise members of the legislatures, especially the House committee on maritime, not to accept any fliers that come from the NPA in the name of contracts as there are attempts to make them culpable in the abuse of due process,” they said.
“We have read several ‘make-believe’ defences of the NPA on their transparent approach to this process and other contracts but we are challenging them to make public all the contracts they have awarded in the last 100 days, companies they were awarded to and requirements for awarding to those companies. Nothing short of following due process as stated by the Procurement Act will be acceptable and we will to go to courts if petitions written to President Muhammadu Buhari, National Assembly and security agencies fail to yield positive results.”
However, reacting to the latest development, the Managing Director, Stewart Intersea, Mr Arthur Ottor, whose company also bidded for the contract, in a telephone conversation, reiterated his confidence in the ability of the NPA authority to do the right thing.
“ NPA is the employer; so they can choose whom they want to work with but based on what the MD had said about transparency, I believe she will not tolerate any of her staff who attempts to manipulate the system she has been trying to sanitize. The aggrieved bidders should give her the benefit of doubt and trust in her judgment to do the right thing,” he said.
Likewise, the Managing Director of Cardiff Global, Mr. Efefiong Udoma, in a telephone conversation, expressed confidence in the ability of ports authority to do the right thing.
“The MD knows where she is coming from and has promised to transform the system thereby making Nigerian ports some of the best in the world. So she should be given a chance. For the bidding process to have been extended for two months, I believe she wants to do a thorough job. So it is important the aggrieved bidders exercise patience,” he said.
Mr. Justus Duru, the Managing Director of Interfric Nigeria Limited, said he had heard about the rumors but said only time would tell if they were true.
“I will only appeal to those who allegedly want to manipulate the system to be mindful of their action because of posterity and God’s judgment”, he added.
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