05 November 2016, Lagos — PIONEER Chairman of the Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, ISAN, now Nigeria Ship Owners Association, NISA, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, has said that officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC tricked him with a contract into taking a loan from Nigerian banks only to cancel the contract after acquisition of the tanker vessel.
Jolapamo, who spoke to Vanguard at the just concluded “Nigeria Ship Finance Conference and Exhibition, NISFCON,” explained that all his previous 12 vessels were bought with a foreign loan and that he had to sell his former vessels before taking the first local loan for the failed contract.
According to him, “In 1986, I purchased a 1,000-tonner from the UK because I had a contract and from then on I was buying ships. I can say conveniently that I have purchased more than 12 vessels between 1986 and 2009.
“The first loan I took from a Nigerian bank was in 2010 and because there was conspiracy, it was like the contract that I was given by NNPC was a set up. The contract did not work and I was forced out of the system. “If they say the ship they accepted before you bought it is not good and that the ship can be replaced with a ship that is not even as good as your own, of course it is a conspiracy.
“If you are forced into such a situation, what can you do? I always tell people that the cane that they used to beat the first wife is kept in the ceiling and will be used for the second wife also. Unless we begin now to sustain what we are doing and how do you sustain it? We must take the cargo back from the people who are presently controlling it. The foreigners are in charge of our cargo.
“So until we create the three legs of the tripod which I call God the father, God the son and God the holy ghost. The first one is the ship-owner who wants to take risk, the second one is the finance for acquisition of the ship and the third one is the business the ship has to do, if that is not there we are just wasting time,” he concluded. Efforts to speak with Garba Deen Muhammed, Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of NNPC, was not successful as he could not be reached on phone.
*Godfrey Bivbere – Vanguard