By Suleiman Umaru
Barely two months after the END SARS Protest which was hijacked by hoodlums and wrecked havoc on the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Corporate Headquarters at Marina, Lagos, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, the Authority Managing Director who had refused to be dragged into any discussion on the cost implication rehabilitating the burnt building , vehicles and replacing looted items has finally opened up.
Hajia Usman may have taken advantage of the maritime agency 2021 budget defence session before the Senate Committee on Maritime in the National Assembly to open up in order to win the support of the Committee members to factor in the amount to the budgetary allocations to the Federal ministry of Transport agency in the 2021 Fiscal year.
Given an insider information of what the loss the agency had incurred after the hoodlums attacked its Corporate Head office in Marina, in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protest which rocked the country last October, she had told the Senate Maritime Committee members that N807 million would be needed to rehabilitate the burnt portion of the agency Corporate Office buildings and looted items. The NPA boss was said to have attached the bill of quantity from the Consortium of Insurance Companies who were on ground to assess the level of damage.
Insiders told Value News that the amount quoted by the Managing Director that would be required for the rehabilitation of the burnt buildings by hoodlums could have run into a billion naira and above if the Authority had added the cost implications of the 27 vehicles including Corporate buses that were burnt by the hoodlums and the two other vehicles that were stolen, as one of the vehicle , which could have added it up to three, was recovered by the Navy .
The NPA Managing Director, may have alluded to this when she said that the N807 million needed to rehabilitate the burnt portion of the agency Corporate office buildings burnt by the hoodlums was different from the amount that would be spent to replace the 27 vehicles , which also include the Corporates Staff buses used in carrying VIPs on an official assignment in the agency including the two others vehicles that was stolen which had not been recovered.
The agency may have been silent on the insurance policy. This because the insurance Companies engaged by the agency had been occupied since late October, 2020, to ascertain the level of damage on the NPA Corporate building and the items looted in order to come out with a figure that would be agreeable by both parties for the rehabilitation of the building and, vehicles and looted items.
It is instructive to note that that the Authority had engaged a Consortium of insurance Companies who were said to have been working with relevant units of the agency to ascertain the extent of the damage caused as a result of the hoodlums attack. Note that NPA, has a Comprehensive insurance policy on its Corporate Head office, which insiders said covers both ‘’fire and theft’’.
The Authority may have known that as a big maritime Organisation thing of this nature might occur one day that it had established in 1990 , the NPA Insurance Brooking Group, with Head office in the United Kingdom, UK. The Insurance Broking firm, was said to have been acquired by Integro Insurance Brokers in 2015, with offices in over 125 countries in the world and rated as one of the top 20 as a Loyd’ market and insurance broker. Its annual revenue is put at about $200 million.
The Authority may not be looking up to its own Foreign floated insurance Broking firm, which had been acquired by Integro, but on the Consortium of insurance Companies to take up the responsibility of rehabilitating the burnt buildings vehicles and replacing the looted equipment.
The big -time insurance Companies, according to Adams Jatto, a one- time General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the agency who may not have looked at the cost implication of rehabilitating the Authority burnt building , replacement of vehicles or looted equipment had said that the Companies which may have invested the premium which the Organisation had paid to them have no cause to worry. This may have informed why the Authority has fallen back on them to pay Compensation.
‘’We are going through the process of insurance claims to see what portion of the insurance would be made available by the Consortium of insurance Companies’’, Hajia Usman, was said to have told the National Assembly Maritime Committee members. She is optimistic that the Consortium of insurance Companies would not disappoint the Authority because ‘’it has always met with its insurance obligations’’.
Recall that the National Assembly Maritime Committee members, Comprising of the Senate and the House, who had visited the Authority to see things themselves and assess the extent of the damage that was done on the NPA buildings and other items, instead of believing what they read in Newspapers, online publications or watch on Televisions, had promised to support the Authority in ensuring that the damaged parts of the Corporate Head office and all other assets that were torched by the hoodlums are rebuilt and replaced.
Garba Datti, who was said to have led the National Assembly Joint Committees to NPA, may have gladden the heart of Hajia and her Management Team, when he disclosed their closed door discussion with the Authority. ‘’As part of our discussion with the Management,the Lawmakers have asked the Hajia Usman led NPA , to bring its revised budget that would accommodate the rebuilding of the burnt building , vehicles and replacement of looted items to the National Assembly in order to guide them in their decision.
The lawmakers believe that though the agency critical infrastructures such as the buildings and the vehicles are insured, the Consortium of insurance Companies engaged by the agency may not be able to bear the entire cost of the repair alone and this is where the government has to come in. As agreed with the Joint maritime Committee members of the National Assembly,to revise its budged to accommodate the reconstruction of the building and replacement of looted items, excluding the 27 vehicles burnt and two stolen, the Committee members have no option but to keep to their promise.
Despite making a case before the National Assembly joint Committee to factor in the cost of rehabilitating the burnt Corporate building by hoodlums in the guise of END SARS protest, Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and now minister of Federal ministry of Transportation who visited the Authority after one month of the incident to cover up for his action had urged the agency to approach the Federal Executive Council, FEC, FOR Funds for reconstruction of the building.
Hear him: I have made my decisions that the NPA, Managing Director should come to the FEC, and ask for the reconstruction of the burnt building, depending on integrity’’, noting ‘’we don’t want to expose life again’’.