How Nigeria Can Become A Regional Hub – Ladol Boss

  • Witness confesses: NIMASA paid me N93m without contract

The Managing Director, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics base (LADOL), Dr Amy Jadesimi has observed that Nigeria would evolve into the West and Central African sub regional oil and gas exploration hub in no time, if it entrenches a more competitive market and increases the public private partnership collaboration.

Amy Jadesimi made the observation at the just concluded week-long annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), which last week ended in Houston, United States of America (USA), during her presentation which centered on “Driving Economic Growth through Indigenous Private Sector Investment in Nigeria”.

While commending the Buhari government for frontally tackling corruption,which she noted had become a serious debilitating huddle for investors,  Jadesimi also highlighted that more could be achieved if the authorities could reduce what she called the long contracting circle.

Pointing out that there are presently, easily identifiable hurdles, she urged for their removal, noting that if “the long contracting cycle, the foreign controlled private monopoly strangling the industry and the need for greater collaboration amongst Nigerians, in the public and private sector to create the hundreds of thousands of jobs that will be generated” are tackled, then the country would in no time get to the desired destination.

“With this huge market potential and strong fundamentals, Nigeria should naturally be the most attractive oil and gas investment destination in the world”, the LADOL boss stated further,  stressing that “governance and macroeconomic factors are also in Nigeria’s favor.

“From an investment perspective, our current government and the low oil price have created a perfect window of opportunity at precisely the right moment in the life of our industry.

“Therefore, the time has now come for public and private stakeholders to come together and quickly overcome the issues that might derail our otherwise bright future. These issues are well known and easily identifiable – which means that if we want to fix them we can do so immediately”.

She maintained that the cost of reduction is another vital area that must be addressed,adding that the industry had maintained an expensive foreign controlled monopoly in the provision of oil and gas logistics in the past “that literally kill our chances of growing the market and attracting new investors.

“In 2007 when the oil price first began to rise,  the NNPC and NAPIMS insisted that all logistics had to be done from Onne at prices that were the most expensive in the world. As a direct result of this, Nigeria lost billions in investment to neighboring countries and exploration grounded to a halt.

“Now, in this new era of real local content and with the absolute need to attract tens of billions in private investment, we are urging all stakeholders to come together and collaborate to grow the market. This will naturally create more work and good returns for all participants, both old and new” she said, pointing  out that LADOL is currently playing a prominent role in the entire value chain.

Recall that just in March this year President Buhari endorsed LADOL for taking a lead role in the implementation of Real Nigerian Content and for making strategic investments in critical infrastructure that has not only created thousands of jobs but also built a haven for International Oil Companies (IOCs) and their service providers in West Africa.

In the meantime, a Bureau-de-Change operator, Wakili Daudu, yesterday told a Lagos High Court in Igbosere that the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) paid N93,394,680 into his account although he did not bid for a contract.

Daudu, the fifth prosecution witnesses in the trial of former NIMASA’s Director-General Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others, said the money was transferred in two tranches of N35,688,000 and N61,394,680.

Speaking through an interpreter, Daudu said: “I don’t know anybody in NIMASA and I have never bid  for any contract in NIMASA, but millions of naira was paid into my account.”

Akpobolokemi was arraigned by the EFCC with Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Adegboyega Sahib Olopoenia and a company, Gama Maine Nigeria Limited.

The first to fifth defendants (Akpobolokemi, Captain Agaba, Nwakuche, Jun, Udoye) are alleged to have, between October 30, 2014 and May 6, 2015, converted to their personal use N346,844,680.00, property of NIMASA meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).

They are being tried on a 13-count charge of stealing and forgery, preferred against them by the EFCC.

The witness testified before Justice Raliat Adebiyi that he was contacted by Mohammed Darlington that his boss, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, wanted to convert some money to dollars.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, Daudu said on October 30, 2014, N35,688,000 was paid into his account by Darlington, who claimed to be working for the second defendant.

Later the same day, N61,394,680 was also transferred into his account, he added.

He further testified that the money was changed into dollars and handed over to Darlington.

The matter has been adjourned till today for continuation of trial.

Additional report from Nation