Following President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive that all oil and gas related cargoes be imported through the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, a major concessionaire in the area, Intels Nigeria Limited has said that the decision is long overdue.
The terminal equally took a swipe at the Federal High Court in Lagos for issuing a court injunction against the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan that all oil and gas cargoes should be diverted to the Oil and Gas Free Zone
It would be recalled that the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA had equally threatened last week to advise it’s importers to divert their cargoes to Cotonou port, if the monopoly given to INTELS by the Federal Government is not withdrawn.
But the General Manager of Legal department of INTELS, Barr‎. Mike Epelle said that during the port concession exercise, the terminal operators were approved based on different kinds of cargo they were to handle.
Apart from these, he said that there is a subsisting Federal High Court judgment directing that all oil and gas cargoes be forwarded through Onne free trade zone.
According to him, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has equally given a subsisting judgment declaring that all oil and gas imports be brought into Nigeria through the Onne port.
Epelle said that it is normal for INTELS to be brought into the picture because the terminal operator has been investing in the Onne Free Zone for the past thirty years.
”Everybody who participated in the concession exercise was aware that the government of Nigeria classified the ports into different categories, depending on the type of cargo you will handle, this was why certain fees that were paid at the time for oil and gas was even higher than other terminals.”
”In 2014, the Federal High Court gave a judgment in a matter in which‎ was between Associated Maritime Services, AMS and another company in which the Federal High Court declared that both the BPE and the NPA have powers to designate the ports and terminals in Nigeria into various categories that exists today and pronounced that all oil and gas cargoes should be handled in the oil and gas denominated terminals, so the directive of the NPA is coming rather too late in the day”
“There was no appeal against that judgment of the court, and we all know that as long as the court judgment is subsisting and not overturned, it has to be obeyed‎” the INTELS legal manager said.
He reiterated that the circular issued by NPA ordering the diversion of all cargoes to the South South region of Warri, Onne and Calabar ports did not mention INTELS Nigeria Limited, even though he acknowledged that the company was given concessions at the three ports.
Lamenting ‎the Federal High Court of Lagos jugement, Barrister Epelle said it was quite unfortunate that a Federal High Court sits in Port Harcourt and gives a judgment and a Federal High Court in Lagos issues another that is contrary to the judgement.
“There is need to look at our judicial system, a court cannot pass a judgement, the same court in another division is having another order contrary to the subsisting order of the same court, it can lead to chaos” he said.
He however assured that steps are being taken to put these things right and in proper perspectives‎.
‎INTELS also recalled there are 190 companies operating within the Onne Oil and Gas free zone and that it was because of the pioneering effort of INTELS in developing facilities and providing services that has made the area conducive for other investors to come in.
“INTELS was not linked to the directive of NPA, first and foremost, that directive is even coming rather too late, there has been a judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in July 2014 in which the Federal High Court pronounced‎ on letters which were written by NPA and the Bureau of Public Enterprises at the time of the concession exercise”.

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