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Group asks FG to investigate dispute over Egina project, threatens protest

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A group of non-governmental organisations has demanded that the Federal Government conducts investigation into the controversies surrounding the Egina Floating Production Storage Offloading [FPSO] deepwater oilfield and sanction parties appropriately.

This was contained in a statement released to reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, and jointly signed by Moses Siloko Siasia, chairman of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and Hamzat Lawal, chief executive of Connected Development (CODE).

The demand, they said, is borne out of concern that there is an attempt to abandon local content and national interest in the protracted dispute between Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) and Samsung Heavy Industry (SHI) over the 200,000-barrels-per-day-capacity oilfield, which is estimated to be worth $3.3bn.

The group maintained that there is a need to thoroughly investigate the contract award as “SHI is alleged to have bribed senior government officials to enable the company secure the contract, despite evidence that SHI has violated local content laws”.

It further said it will have no option other than to mobilise youth all over to country to protest at the Presidential Villa “if the federal government fails to initiate action with regards to the probe of SHI”.

“Our position is that the Egina FPSO contract awarded to SHI is fraudulent ab initio and in all its ramifications,” the statement read.

“Secondly, in executing this contract, SHI has consistently violated the local content laws and, accordingly, further jeopardized the already delicate unemployment situation in Nigeria. For these reasons and more, we demand that the federal government commence a comprehensive probe of Samsung Heavy Industries.

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“If after one week we don’t see any action from the federal government to bring SHI to justice, we shall mobilize all youth groups across Nigeria to occupy the Presidential Villa until something is done.”

LADOL and SHI have, for a while, strongly disagreed over the nature of ownership of the SHI MCI Free Zone Enterprise.

According to Fidelis Oditah, counsel to LADOL, the company has filed an interlocutory application for an injunction to restrain Samsung from representing itself as the owner of 70 percent of the enterprise.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, he accused Samsung of criminal conduct by usurping LADOL’s equity over the facility as approved by the federal government.

In a statement made public on Wednesday, however, Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) described the claim that it does not own the integration and fabrication yard as false, and said it invested $300 million to build it.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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