The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing…

May 20, 2021
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Workers petition Buhari; indict Minister, others

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•President Buhari

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the Minister of Trade and Investment, the Board Chairman and Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) of desperate attempts to destabilise the free trade zones.

The petition dated Tuesday, May 18, 2021, was signed by ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal. In it the association said it decided to alert President Buhari of the “Desperate Attempt by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, to subvert the activities of the Free Zones Scheme in Nigeria.”

“We hereby plead with Mr. President to painstakingly look into this submission and urgently intervene in the matter with a view to saving the country from being ripped off through ill-advised policies that have the potential of satisfying individuals rather than the country as a whole,” the petitioners said.

The union also accused the NEPZA Board and the Managing Director of the agency of complicity, saying: “We are very suspicious of the role of the Chairman of the Board, Alhaji

Adamu Fanda since he is a close political associate of the Honourable Minister, Otunba Adeniyi Richard Adebayo, and the Managing Director, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba in all these.

“It appears that they were brought to NEPZA as ‘Undertakers’ that is, to supervise the dismembering of the Authority as a body. Few days after their resumption, they, with their cohorts in the Ministry made attempts to transfer some zones to OGFZA. The attempt failed woefully.

“The Managing Director and some of his Directors were members of TWG. Where were they, when a decision that was to have a far-reaching effect on the corporate existence of NEPZA was being taken? Why would any MD or any of his directors append their signatures to such a report?”

ASCSN picked holes in the ministerial committee report which recommended the transiting of NEPZA responsibility to Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, describing the proposal as an illegal step designed to serve the interest of individuals rather than the nation.

“One of the set goals is to resolve the perceived ambiguity between the two Authorities, namely Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA). There is no ambiguity whatsoever either in law or operations and if any ambiguity exists, the courts of law are there to resolve same.

“The recommendation confirms the suspicions of the stakeholders that the entire exercise is just to strip NEPZA of its regulatory mandate and confer same on OGEFZA which had been a long time unwholesome ambition of OGFZA contrary to its enabling law, national objectives and interest for the establishment of Free Zone Scheme in Nigeria and International Finance Corporation (IFC) who is the major financier of investment in Nigeria Free Zones,” ASCSN said in the petition.


Source: News Express


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