Home » Aliko Dangote roped into controversial Onne seaport story with Hadiza Bala

Aliko Dangote roped into controversial Onne seaport story with Hadiza Bala

by Ishioma Emi

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has been pulled into a controversy following the recent suspension of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Manager Hadiza Bala over a dubious contract awarded to a Lebanese businessman at the Onne Ports complex involving top state officials.  

Bala was accused of favoring International Container Terminal Services (ICTS) Nigeria Ltd., a proxy company associated with the billionaire, against Integrated Logistics Services (INTELs). INTELs is linked to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Before 2020, INTELs operated docks at the complex’s Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), where it provided logistics services. Sahara Reporters reported.

In 2020, a deal that may have short-changed some INTELs-operated coastline terminals at the complex was awarded to Dangote’s ICTS. Onne Ports is one of the largest oil and gas free zones in Africa, located in Rivers State. Its main features are the two major terminals – Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) and Federal Lighter Terminal (FLT) and the Onne estate facilities.

In 2015, Dangote was said to have transferred N200 million ($525,621) in two batches from his bank accounts to accounts belonging to Usman at Access Bank.

“Bala Usman received the first N100 million* transfer on Feb. 6, 2015, while the second N100 million came through three days later on Feb. 9. The transfers carried ambiguous descriptions that made it difficult to conclude their purpose,” according to Sahara Reporters.

The Suspension of Hadiza Bala

On May 6, President Muhammadu Buhari removed Bala from office over a controversial CTN contract issued to a Lebanese syndicate by top state officials.

The officials include Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and Justice Minister and Federal Attorney-General Abubakar Malami. The president was initially persuaded to buy into the deal, but took a U-turn when he realized Malami and the Senate president may have been involved in fraud.

“The Lebanese man will be giving them $300,000 monthly. That was one of the reasons behind Usman’s removal. It was a contract on container tracking. But there is still rivalry in the whole contract; there is the Amaechi camp on one side as well as Malami and Senate President on the other side,” according to an anonymous statement from Sahara Reporters.*N100 million ($262,810)

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