LTFC concessionaire decries moves by BPE to revoke complex

The concessionaire of Lagos Trade Fair Complex (LTFC), Aulic Nigeria Limited, has condemned fresh moves by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to revoke the concession while the matter is still in court.
In an interaction with Daily Sun, Aulic’s company secretary, Barrister Dan Udeh, condemned the plot by the National Council on Privatization (NCP ), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Lagos International Trade Fair Complex management board to eject it with force from the complex, saying that such action would amount to flagrant disobedience and violation of a pending order of a federal high court which had ordered all parties to maintain the status quo until the matter is heard and determined by the court.
“It is unfortunate that instead of waiting till that time, all we heard was that the Director General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, had gone to the senate, appealing to them to compel the Inspector General of Police and Director of DSS to eject Aulic, the concessionaire, without recourse to the subsisting order of the court. Also, it was alleged that the chairman, Senate ad-hoc committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, investigating the alleged misuse, under-remittance by all revenue- generating agencies, further urged the police and the DSS to eject Aulic from the complex, without hearing from the company, and not minding that the matter is still pending in court” he said
While querying the rationale behind the alleged twist of facts by BPE and board of LITFC, Udeh said: “ This position is not only ridiculous but highly laughable. I don’t want to believe that those people understand that concession is about reversionary interest of the person who is concessioning, and in this instance it is the reversionary right of the government which entitles it to collect tenement rates and other relevant charges. But BPE continued to flout the orders of the NCP. Government, they say, is a continuum, whether it was Goodluck Jonathan or Nemadi Sambo that sat as head of NCP or Professor Yemi Osibanjo, who is there today as the head of NCP, the fact remains that government is a continuum” he noted.
He narrated that during the era of Dr. Bolanle Onagoruwa as the Director-General of BPE, she was able to go through the files and discovered the true facts concerning the transactions, and promptly wrote a letter lampooning the LITFC management board for trying to scuttle the concession agreement, and ordered that Aulic be given unhindered access to the entire 322 hectares of land as contained in the agreement.
Udeh added that Onagoruwa’s letter clearly specified that there was nothing like excision in the concession agreement, but contrary to his thoughts that the letter would compel the LITFC management board to stop from collecting revenue from the traders, the reverse was the case. In his words, “ we had thought that the directives contained in the letter from the then DG of BPE, Dr. Onagoruwa, an astute bureaucrat and tested administrator, would have compelled them to stop collecting revenue-. from the traders and others, and make them to announce to the traders that Aulic is fully in-charge of the complex, and that henceforth they should be paying revenues to Aulic, even when this does not necessarily mean that we are going to remove the traders from the area. But they still carried on with their unlawful activities” he said, insisting that at the moment, the board of LITFC had continued to collect revenues from the traders, and usurping the legal rights of Aulic, while both the BPE and LITFC flagrantly and unlawfully refused to hand over the entire 322 hectares to the company.
Udeh noted that by the concession agreement, LITFC was to hand over the entire complex to Aulic to manage for 30 years, while it vacates the complex immediately, just as he insisted that the concession agreement never had any clause that says that either LITFC management would be collecting revenues from the traders or that BPE would be excising any part of the complex.
He accused the BPE and the board of LITFC of gross illegalities in the under-implementation of the concession of agreement, saying “ all these bottlenecks, lies and insincerities are simply the handiwork of overzealous and corrupt public officers, who due to what will enter into their personal pockets, had decided to turn things upside down, create crises where there is none, and in the midst of this, often drawing the government into taking actions which are basically against the rule of law and quite embarrassing to the anti-corruption war by the federal government ”.