The Senate has summoned the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to explain the funds owed to the federal government by terminal operators totalling $1.85 billion and N1.87 billion.
On Tuesday, Ahmed Wadada, the Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, issued a stern ultimatum, demanding the NPA’s management to appear before the committee within 48 hours or face legal repercussions.
Wadada expressed disappointment in the NPA’s failure to respond to queries stemming from the 2019 audit report by the Auditor-General for the Federation, which highlighted the indebtedness of terminal operators.
“The NPA is found wanting on the Auditor-General for the Federation’s annual report and the end-of-status inquiry. There are issues surrounding Lagos channel management, Bonny channel management, and Calabar channel management. The committee has respectfully communicated with the NPA management; some responses have been received, while others remain unanswered,” Wadada stated.
Additionally, outstanding shipping dues and service boat fees, totalling over $68 million, are critical issues requiring clarification by the Senate Committee.
“The NPA is supposed to have appeared before this committee today so we can look at the queries raised by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation. The NPA is not here. Some of these queries have to do with the indebtedness of the terminal operators, which is almost $1.85 billion, N1.87 billion”, the chairman said.
“The status of long outstanding debts is an issue to be answered by the NPA. This is not even to talk about the issues surrounding Lagos, Bonny, and Calabar channel management.
“On behalf of the committee, we will communicate to the management of the NPA to, within the next 48 hours, appear before the committee for Nigerians to know about the queries and issues we have gathered. Otherwise, we will use all the instruments available to us by law to bring the management of NPA to order because nobody is above the law”, Wadada added.
He also warned that nobody would be allowed to disrespect and take the institution of the National Assembly for granted.