An imbroglio over ownership of the Ibaka Deep Seaport concept, which ensued between the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and a private firm, Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) has deepened, prompting NPA to settle the company out of court.
LEADERSHIP gathered that conscious of the consequences of an imminent court action against the Akwa-Ibom State Government and the Federal Ministry of Transport over the ownership right of the Ibaka Deep Seaport concept, the state government and the ministry have opted for settlement.
MMCC, original developers of the Ibaka Deep Seaport initiative, had severally threatened to sue the state government and Ministry of Transport for hijacking its intellectual property after making a series of presentation on its conception, feasibility and viability at different quarters including the presidency years before the Ibaka Deep Seaport Project finally commenced.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the company had been invited by the state government for settlement.
The Chief Executive Officer of MMCC, Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja (Rtd) also confirmed the invitation to journalists in Lagos.
He said that the Minister of Transport, Sen Idris Umar had indicated interest to ensure that there is a amicable settlement of the differences.
Admiral Okoja has severally said that the Ibaka Deep Seaport Project was his the thesis while he was undergoing a course in the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in 1993.
He was said to have presented the perfected version of thesis to the then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua entitled, “Port Development in Nigeria.” The paper was then referred to the Minister of Transport by the Presidency in conjunction with the Senate president.
Following this, he was invited by the Ministry of Transport and the NPA for further discussions.
Okoja said as a result of the successful presentation, he was invited in October 22, 2009, by the Minister of Transport to further elucidate on the project which he did successfully.
But when it was time for the project to be executed, Okoja and his company were shut out by NPA and the Akwa-Ibom State Government.
Information from Leadership was used in this report.