The controversy around the Lalong Legacy Project has generated more reactions between the contractor, Beleneson Services Nig Ltd and the Plateau State Government. The latest is coming from the Managing director of Bleneson Nigerian Limited, Engr Lawson Ngoa, who has stated that he has raised valid issues of which the Plateau State Government has not come out to deny any.
Contractors of the Lalong Legacy Project, Bleneson Services Nig Ltd, have called the alleged accusation of misleading the state and the proposed takeover of the Lalong Legacy Project site by the Plateau State Government an act of intimidation and a show of state might. Emphasizing that a 70% completed project can’t be terminated on the grounds of non-performance.
According to the Managing Director services of Bleneson Services Nig LTD, Engr Lawson Ngoa the State Government is being minimal with the truth by withholding valuable information and painting their request for an Order of Injunction from the court as an afterthought, giving misleading fabrications to the people of the State.
The Statement Reads:
OUR PROJECT REMAINS VALID AND CANNOT BE RE-AWARDED: BLENESON SERVICES NIG LTD (CONTRACTOR FOR LALONG LEGACY PROJECT)
- The State Government said the facts alleged by me are misleading, which of those facts are misleading? Is it that it’s executive council did not sit in order to attempt to re-award the said contract? Or that there is no pending litigation on the subject matter (the off shoot of which even the subcontractors have instituted a suit because they have been instigated to think that the company has been paid, when the government that has refused to pay the company)? or is it that the governor has never confirmed by himself by stating that ‘70%-80% of the job has been completed’? or is it that with the actions of the govt there won’t be more litigation? Or can the State Government show any genuine prove that it has paid money on the project to an account, either personal or the company’s for this project?
- The State Government is being minimal with the truth by withholding valuable information and giving misleading fabrications to the people of the State. The appointment of an independent valuer is not part of the agreement entered into by parties. Even the several valuations carried out by the Project Monitoring Committee (PMC) jointly instituted by the parties were not honoured by the state government. How could I have known that the State Government wanted to or had appointed an independent valuer when I was not informed about their intention to do so? Did the State Government embark on this valuation through its purported independent valuers so it can pay the company its outstanding? Well, if that was the intent of the State Government for unilaterally appointing the valuers, they did not send invitation to the company for any reconciliation of accounts and neither have they paid me or the company anything, regardless of it said completed valuation.
- It is obvious that the State Government wants to disregard the rule of law on a subject matter that is before the court, we call on the Federal Government, the Judiciary and every well-meaning Nigerian to see how the Plateau State Government is muddling up and destroying the livelihood of the contractor and subcontractors, who are now heavily indebted as a result of the government’s refusal to offset it’s accrued debts on this project for the past one year. This only empathically shows that the State Government terminated the contract using state might.
- As to the allegation that we moved out of the state and all that was purported by the government, we have facts to contravene this distortion, because our offices in the State are still in existence and our staff are always around, particularly the office in the State Capital Jos, so how could we have been said to move out. Of course, as a result of the looting from us during and after the covid-19, and to prevent our machinery from wear and tear that would have occasioned as a result of the hostility of the government towards our staff by refusing them access to the sites, we had to remove valuable equipment to safe locations, with the anticipation that we will resume work as soon as issues are resolved or the court grants our reliefs.
- The people of Plateau State should know that due to the State Government’s refusal to pay us, we had sought all means of amicable resolution, but to our dismay the State Government dragged us to the Tax Appeal Tribunal before this termination letter that was sent to us. I was in Jos for several days reaching out to have a roundtable discussion with the Governor and relevant stakeholders to the project so issues can be ironed out amicably, and yet the Government said I kept mute and didn’t approach them!
Seeing the body language, and because of the urgency of the situation as this had become an emergency, we immediately followed suit by doing all that is required by law and filed a case to that effect before the State High Court to restrain them amongst other things before the expiration of the 30days notice. This are facts verifiable in the public domain. So, how can our going to the court to seek redress be an afterthought? There was no such thing as consent by conduct on our part as we didn’t sleep on our rights, so this is not a situation of laches and acquiescence.
- I will not dabble into that as a matter of respect to the court, we have strong faith in the judiciary, and we believe that justice shall be done. However, the issue of damages that the State Government is hammering on, in the case of this Lalong Legacy Project damages has not yet arisen. The issue of damages can only come up if and when the contract has been rightly terminated. This is what we are contending, that the termination is invalid, as we have not bridged any terms of the contract, neither have we refused to continue with the project nor has any of our act or omission brought the lifespan of the contract to an end, simple.
Seeking redress is a post contract issue which does not apply in the instant case. May be if the courts adjudge the contract as terminated, then we can talk of a redress for damages.
I urge the subcontractors to resist all attempts to be instigated further by the State machinery against the contractor. They should be the reassured of the contractor’s commitment in defending the Project as they ensure that nothing happens to the respective work the contractor allocated to them.
Engr Lawson Ngoa
Managing Director, Bleneson Services Nigeria Ltd
3rd November, 2022