Business

Confusion over rehabilitation of burnt NPA headquarters

…as NPA fails to make insurance details public

•Lawmakers want loss appropriated for in 2021 budget

 

As experts insisted at the weekend that it is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to rehabilitate the burnt headquarters of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and replace the items lost in the recent hoodlums attacks on the Ports Authority headquarters and the Tin Can Island Port, the Management of NPA for the second week running has failed to make public the details of the insurance of the affected facilities; a development the experts say will make informed investigation into the value of the loss impossible.

 

This came on the heels of a recent pledge by the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) to support the Ports Authority in replacing some of the items lost to the attack, a development that created an impression that the agency is in urgent need of help. NPA is a landlord to STOAN received the charitable pledge from the chairman of the association, Princess Vicky Haastrup in Lagos when she led her members on a sympathy visit to the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman.

 

The Ports Authority is the largest and actually the lead agency in the Nigerian maritime industry in terms of assets, value of its operations and income.

 

Recall that a group of the Federal lawmakers had during their recent visit to the site of the burnt and looted NPA headquarters in Lagos; they promised that the National Assembly will approve a budget for NPA to ‘rebuild’ the partially burnt structure and replace looted items.

 

Addressing journalists touring the destruction site, Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Danjuma Goje, assured the NPA of cooperation to ensure that its operation is not affected. Represented by a member of the committee, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, he said: “We are here on behalf of the Senate to extend our sympathy and commiserate with the NPA.

 

We have seen the extensive damage that has been done. We also talked with them to see what alternative measures will be put in place to make sure that there is no disruption of operations because the NPA is the economic lifeline of the country.”

 

On his part, Chairman of the House Committee on Ports and Harbour, Hon. Garuba Datti Muhammed, decried the huge damage done to the NPA head office in Lagos, stressing that what happened was share criminality “We are here to assess the extent of the damage that was caused by hoodlums and arsonists.

 

We have gone round and seen the extent of the damage to the building and cars. As a National Assembly, we will cooperate with the NPA to assist them to rebuild this building.”

 

“The NPA is about to bring its budget to the National Assembly. We have advised them to readjust the budget to accommodate the cost of rebuilding the head office,” he said.

 

Speaking on the legislators promise to approve a budget for the ‘rebuilding of the destroyed facility, foremost maritime expert and president of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that since the building is insured for fire and theft and NPA did not default in its premium payments, it is the responsibility of the insurer to rehabilitate the building and replace stolen items.

 

He said: “There are classes of insurance but if the losses suffered by the NPA in the incident is covered, then the insurer takes full responsibility for paying compensation the insured of the losses suffered. That is the essence of insurance. Going again to take money from government is double charge. I don’t want to call it fraud.

 

“Once it is insured, the insurance company takes responsibility for everything;  that is the truth,” Amiwero stressed. Also speaking, the National Coordinator of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNIFFIEC), Dr. Osita Patrick Chukwu, said that if the affected facilities were insured, “the insurance company should take care of the building it doesn’t matter if Federal Government is the owner of the property.

 

“The insurer must be able and be sure that all values are made available and all losses are being counted, that is it. “So they shouldn’t use Federal Government money to pay; why should they use government’s money when it is insured,” he queried. In a similar development, Ekerete Olawoye Gam-Ikon, a management strategyinsurance consultant, said it will be difficult to guess the insurance value with the Risk Adjusters completing their assessment, but the level of damage has already been indicated in billions of naira according to industry reports.

 

He said: “Insurance is the most tested risk management mechanism and nonmonetary financial instrument that addresses losses of this nature, often both financial and emotional. However, we have not imbibed the culture of insurance because we are ignorant of the value it offers and delivers per time. Let me say that all insurance policyholders with policies that have Riots, Strikes and Civil Commotion (RSCC) extension will most likely receive compensation from their insurers.

 

For insurance of vehicles and properties, that condition exists and once fulfilled the policyholders will have their claims settled,” he said. However, speaking on the long delay of NPA in making public the values of its losses, name of the insurers and other details about the insurance of the building, President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Increase Uche said there is need you allow them sometime to finish their investigation as it is just about a month the incident took place. “I think they are taking their time, it will be too early for us to start saying whether they are hiding anything from us    let’s watch them and see.

 

To me the truth must surely surface. It’s just barely a month now that issue took place and investigation is still going on and I don’t think they will be in hurry to start disturbing insurance company and all that, which covers the property.

 

I can’t blame anybody for now until they work and see maybe after two or three months and all those things are not made open then one can start to complain, to me it is too early now to complain,” he said. NPA’s losses in the arson and looting

 

The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, had said the actual cost of the damage done to the NPA headquarters building is yet to be fully ascertained, as insurance companies concerned with the facility are still evaluating cost from the damage and theft. She said all assets were duly insured as required and the insurers had been invited. She said the organisation was going through the process of reclaiming its insurance.

 

The managing director said air conditioners, water dispensers, television, and even small tables and chairs were carted away by the looters. She said that two vehicles were stolen — a Hilux and Prado jeep. “Right now, we cannot determine the value of lost until we are able to conclude with the insurance, so that they can provide the exact value, and an integrity test is ongoing to determine the integrity of the building.

 

“Some of the vehicles are new for our operational use and recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, and also we have lost out on staff buses. “We are in a difficult position because of the state of our office and equipment, but we will soldier on, that is the Nigerian spirit,” she said.

 

The NPA General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communication Mr. Adam Jato had confirmed that the facility was insured for fire and theft.

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