Contract Termination- Intel Seeks Peaceful Negotiation With NPA

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…But Insists AGF Action Illegal 
Yemisi Izuora

After the termination of the pilotage contract she entered into in 1997 with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Intels says it is disposed to a peaceful resolution without recourse to litigation.

Intels’ Managing Director, Mr Silvano Bellinato pleaded for this consideration in Lagos

Speaking at an interactive session with the media,  the company’s General Manager (Legal) Mr Mike Epelle stated that rather than taking a unilateral action, NPA and Intels could have gone to an independent mediator to discuss and agree whether to terminate the contract or not. Intels is still hopeful that good reason will prevail eventually because the two organizations have come a long way in their operations and business relationships which have continued to benefit the economy and the citizens, he remarked.  He admitted that there is a dispute and there is a process to resolve it without hurting one of the parties involved.

On the instruction by the Attorney-General of the Federation terminating the contract without due process, he insist that the AGF has no authority under the law to void a contract legally entered into by two corporate organizations recognized by the law of the land. “He can only give advice or proffer opinion on how to arbitrate in a dispute arising from a contract duly entered into by two legal entities”. That the contract is void ab initio should not have been the advice of the AGF on this matter, he argued.

Beyond the issue of Intels as a corporate body, he contended, the negative impact of the unilateral decision stand reflected in huge job losses and blockage of fresh employment opportunities for the teeming citizens, disrespect for lawful business agreements and discouragement to possible foreign investors in the nation’s economy. He stated that certain people who were in the habit of evading bills payment to NPA before Intels took over the pilotage operations  were strongly behind the present move as they had severally complained about Intels’ enforcement strategies which gave them no room to play their usual tricks.

Epelle said Intels prefers an amicable resolution of the present logjam than the resort to the courts. It is only a court of law that can void or illegalize an agreement validly entered into by NPA and Intels.  “Our agreement with NPA provides a procedure for dispute resolution and how best to amend an agreement in a way that does not call for rancour. It also provides for the best ways to terminate the agreement if it becomes necessary.

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