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Friday, 1 December 2017

Group faults AGF on termination of Intels/NPA contract

SAGE Africa, an NGO has faulted the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami on the termination of Intels contract with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and revocation of expatriates’ residence permit.
SAGE Africa’s Executive Director, Mr Asubiojo Joshua, who briefed newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, said that the Attorney General, by his directives, violated the rule of law.
“The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami , in a letter dated Sept. 27 to the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, posited that an agreement, which has allowed Intels to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, violates the Nigerian Constitution, especially in view of the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of government.
“This, to our mind, is a mis-step by the Attorney General as his position goes contrary the rule of law as well as the principles of natural justice on all fours, to wit:
“The office of the Attorney General is not a court of law conferred with the requisite jurisdiction to declare a valid contract void ab-initio and the action is therefore illegal.
“The AGF cannot be an arbiter or judge in his own matter as encapsulated in the Latin maxim “Nemo judex in causa sua”.
“Laws are not made to be retrospective in enforcement or application, to say the least, a mere policy.
He said that any law made with a retrospective effect would be against international best practices as well as the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Asubiojo argued that if there existed, such non-remittances to the TSA, the blame should be rightly placed at the appropriate place being the management of the NPA rather than Intel.
He said that NPA’s contract with Intel was for supervision and monitoring of pilotage within the different pilotage districts.
. “Furthermore adding salt to injury, the Federal Government, announced revocation of expatriates residence permit working at Intel not putting into consideration the rippling economic effect of such move on the numerous staff and by extension Nigerians.
“This is a disservice to our nation who at this point is yearning for foreign investment especially in the face of our already highly depleted economy.
“The Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS) gave Nov. 30 as the deadline for the affected staff to leave the country, saying  that refusal to do so, would mean getting the Ministry of Interior to forcefully deport them,’’ he said.
He said that Federal Government should ensure fair play and avoid politically tainted actions as the 2019 general elections approached.
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