Stakeholders in the maritime and oil and gas sector, have called for the audit of funds made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BoI), and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to support the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics base (LADOL).
The stakeholders alleged that investments on ground at the zone could be far less than the amount of funds made available by the apex banks and intervention agencies,hence the need for probity and accountability.
The stakeholders under the aegis of the Nigerian Maritime Support (NMS), alleged that for the past 15 years, the free zone had remained an undeveloped swamp without facilities to attract investors, and urged CBN, NCDMB, and BoI to probe the utilisation of funds for earmarked projects.
Convener of the group, Nurudeen Ismaila Bell, and secretary, Mr. Segun Andrew, noted that apart from the fabrication and integration yard built by foreign investors during the construction of the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO), no other massive structure sits at the zone.
The said while agitating for the renewal of the lease, LADOL reportedly told the Federal Government that its shareholders,which include some agencies of the government, like Bank of Industry (BoI) have invested $25 million into the free zone between 2010 and 2013.
The group demanded a probe into claims of massive investments in extensive infrastructure, utilities, facilities and equipment and the building of a 50 megawatt-capacity power plant in the zone from the CBN’s N6.09billion loan and the NCDMB bank guarantees of $25 million.
“While we applaud the CBN, BoI, NCDMB and others for offering these claimed supports to LADOL, we wish to note that we don’t have the mechanisms to ascertain the veracity of these claims. We don’t have the mechanisms to verify if these banks and agencies actually supported LADOL as claimed,” the group said.
It said a team of experts who visited the free trade zones across the country disclosed no serious infrastructure that could be linked directly to LADOL to justify the massive supports and queried where the funds could have ben invested.