*Controversy trails licensing of new tank farm, as construction begins
By Godfrey Bivbere
As the battle over the ownership of the shoreline Tin-can Island port between the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, continues, a construction of a new tank farm has commenced at the area called ‘Abuja’ along the shoreline.
The disputed area is between Tin-can first gate and second gate popularly known in port circle as ‘Port Nuovo Creek’.
Despite the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing installing a public signage indicating it has awarded the contract for landscape development to Dangote Group, Vanguard Maritime Report, can authoritatively report that construction work of a tank farm is presently on-going on the same location.
When Vanguard Maritime Report visited the site recently, the area has been condoned off with construction work at high pace.
A source in NPA said the position of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the land is illegal saying the claim of transfer of ownership to the ministry is not gazetted by the Federal Government.
But a source at the ministry said they ministry did not grant any permission for the construction of any tank farm along the Tin-can Island shoreline.
Speaking on the granting of tank farm licenses, Executive Secretary of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association of Nigeria, DEPPMAN, Olufemi Adewole, said the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR, now Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, received applications (drawings / design of the depot) from the investor.
Adewole further said that “the applicant has the list of requisite approvals needed upon which its NMDPRA’s approval is based. He said some of the approvals are police approval, fire service approval, NIWA approval, NPA approval, approved EIA, State planning approval, etc.
He added, “While the process is not totally devoid of influence peddling, all these approvals must be sought and received prior to NMDPRA’s consent.”
Recall that Federal Controller of Works in charge of Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, had told Vanguard Maritime Report that the ministry has awarded the said portion of land to the Dangote Group for beautification.
Popoola had also denied there was dispute between the two federal authorities but when asked why NPA had to allocate and re-allocate the space to different firms, he said he was not aware of the transaction, adding however, that NPA should apply to the ministry if it intends to exercise any authority over the space.
According to him, “We are beautifying the corridor of Apapa/Oshodi expressway; it is a beautification project.
“That place will serve as a recreational center where people can go and sit down. We want to beautify that corridor that is the essence of clearing that place.
“The land belongs to the Federal Ministry of Works and the two of us are children of the same father, both NPA and the ministry of works.
“So if there is anything, I have told them (NPA) that they should write to the Minister,” he said.