By Tony Obiechina, ABUIA
Following the closure of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex for few hours on Monday, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said on Tuesday that the Federal Government has no intention to sell the complex.
The BPE stated this in a statement signed on Tuesday by Head, Public Communications, Amina Othman.
However, The BPE clears the air by stating that the Federal Government was in the process of concessioning the complex and had secured the services of transaction adviser in the person of Messrs Feedback Infrastructure Services.
The statement reads, “The attention of BPE has been drawn to the alleged closure of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex by the Traders’ Associations operating in the Complex and the protest by the said association over the purported sale of the complex.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the bureau states that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the BPE does not intend to sell the complex rather the facility would be concessioned through a competitive transaction process.
“It is for this reason that the government has procured the services of Messrs Feedback Infrastructure Services to advise on the way forward for the proposed concession. It is apt to inform the public that the bureau on Friday, March 1, 2019, met with the entire Traders’ Associations to explain the essence of the planned concession.”
“The bureau had on August 23, 2017 placed a caveat emptor in some national newspapers in the country wherein it stated that the lease agreement that was hitherto executed by the FGN in favour of Aulic Nigeria Limited had been validly terminated and possession reverted to the FGN with effect from 23rd day of August 2017.
“Members of the public were therefore warned that ‘any purported allotment, buying, selling, letting, leasing, charging, and subdivision, construction upon or dealings in connection with the said property and parcels of land in any other manner howsoever without the written permission of the FGN represented by the BPE is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent and amounts to trespass’.
“It further warned that any person(s) interfering with the said parcels of land ‘stand to lose their money as the FGN through the BPE will neither honour agreements, contracts or arrangements entered into with person(s) purporting to have authority to transact the property and or parcels of land whether in the manner described or in any other manner whatsoever nor will it reimburse any monies paid in respect of such transaction’.”
According to Othman, the privatisation agency is willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure a smooth and successful completion of the transaction
Recall that traders were shut out of their shops as the the entrance to the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex was locked for few hours on Monday before it was later opened to traders who were already stranded and confused over the development.
The Complex was reportedly shut by the presidents of the various market groups within the Trade Fair to protest an alleged hijack of the complex by a popular politician in Lagos.