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NPA, LADOL land dispute may hobble local, foreign investors’

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Leading development experts have variously defined ease of doing business to a number of conditions including absence of policy inconsistency and due process in rule of engagements at all times.

Before now, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) seems to have been having some kinds of running battles with the Nigerian Ports Authority even during the arrival of the Egina deep offshore vessel from South Korea.

As if the Egina crisis has subsided, it seems another one is brewing between the policy maker and industry player all headed by vibrant women after all; Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman for the NPA and Dr Amy Jadesimi for LADOL.

Latest trouble seems to have started when NPA stood its ground that by virtue of the prevailing concession deal sealed, LADOL signed an agreement that the revoked land at Tarkwa Bay would not be sublet to another tenant.

Last week, the NPA revoked the land lease agreement it had with LADOL for 121 hectares of land near the Light House Beach, Tarkwa Bay, Lagos for allegedly subletting part of the land.

In a letter signed by its General Manager, Land and Asset Administration, Mr Yusuf Ahmed, and addressed to the Managing Director of Messrs Global Resources Management Limited, the parent company of LADOL, the agency had called the attention of  LADOL to “Clause 4.5 (a) of the agreement which prohibits the lessee (LADOL) from subletting any part of the premises without a written approval of the Lessor (NPA).

The clause stipulated that any contravention “shall result in the automatic cancellation of this lease.”

NPA had noted that its investigation revealed that LADOL executed a sublease dated September 13, 2013 with Messrs SHI-MCI Fze (representing Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria) without the required approval or recourse to the Lessor.

“Your actions in that regard led to the current impasse with resultant negative attention within and outside the country.

“Consequently, the authority has reviewed the events and decided to exercise its rights under the lease and hereby revokes it with immediate effect.”

The Authority further accused LADOL of paying less money than it collected on rent into the coffers of the Federal Government, arguing clearly that its intervention was aimed at saving SHIN’s fabrication and integration yard for which it borrowed $270m to build and restore investors’ confidence that had been badly shaken by the attempt to push it out of the facility.

Besides, apart from paying less than the amount it collected from SHIN to the government, GRML was alleged to have also entered into another sublease agreement with an American company called Africoat Nigeria Limited, without any recourse to the NPA.

Without any form of remorse or peaceful resolution, LADOL and GRML are reported to have taken the matter to court, seeking court’s order and declaration that the NPA’s revocation of the lease agreement is unconstitutional, illegal, wrongful, null and void.

In the s Federal High Court, LADOL listed defendants in the suit to include Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria, the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority and SHI-MCI Free Zone Enterprise.

No date has been fixed for hearing.

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