The Northern Voices for Equity and Justice (NVEJ) has petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami over what it called an unfair distribution of the ongoing Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Project contracts across all regions of the country.
In a statement made available to journalists, the group led by KabirAhmed, alleged that managers of the NLNG Train 7 Project including the contractors, Saipem and Daewoo and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) are deliberately awarding contracts on the project to their proxies, associates and cronies to the exclusion of parts of Nigeria.
The NLNG project is expected to increase the six processing trains of the plant in Bonny to seven trains as well increase the current installed capacity to 30 MPTA
With the approved vendors list exceeding over 300, the NVEJ stated that there is hardly any company from the northern part of Nigeria or their business interests that are involved.
Describing it as a major missing link that continues to fuel the unending divide within the Nigerian socio-economic and political structure, the group maintained that the project remains in excess of $10 billion (N6 trillion).
It stated that this is inclusive of Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commission (EPCIC) and is expected to stretch till 2027 or a little beyond if everything goes well.
“Much as we appreciate and support the participation and capacity building of our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta and the entire South by extension through various projects in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, it has become imperative that these project managers must not look away from other regions,” it said.
It added that in the area of procurement, which is supposedly the low hanging fruit in project execution, the management team must as a deliberate action, provide opportunities on the project to vendors and contractors alike from the North.
According to the group, this will enable them grow their business capacity and provide employment opportunities for the teeming youths scattered all over the landscape.
“This will be done in collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB). It will fashion out strategies to make this happen in the shortest possible time, knowing their pedigree in effective strategy implementation.
“Based on our NLNG sources, in addition to our physical presence in Bonny Island, in the area of early works services, especially in logistics, civil construction, such as the massive permanent accommodation for workers and temporary accommodation for Expatriates and Nigerians, dredging, piling etc, these works were never advertised for competitive bids in contravention of the Procurement Act and the Local Content Act.
“Even the host community Bonny Kingdom is struggling to get relevance on the project because of some selfish interests. These scopes of work contracted to these cronies run into over a billion US dollars,” it added.
It noted that the interests have refused to expedite the project as originally scheduled as they are mopping up contracts for themselves beyond their capacity.
The group added that this has a very negative cash flow impact on the Nigerian economy and at the expense of Nigerians. “This is obviously contract variation looming in the horizon,” it said.
This stranglehold, the group said , has stifled glaring business opportunities for Nigerians, pointing out that there must be a conscious consideration for other regions.
“If we must deepen value addition in Nigeria, then it must have a human face, and it is against this background that we sincerely recommend an immediate investigation into the award of those contracts as above mentioned and others that may be discovered in the course of the investigation by relevant government agencies,” the NVEJ stated.