Alleged default in contractual agreement creates tension in A’Ibom community

Youths of Afaha Eket Village in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have raised concerns over security threat in their community owing to ongoing tussle by Oil Flow, Qua Steel Partners.

According to the youths, the ongoing face off by contending partners has not only increased military presence in the area, but has also attracted suspected hoodlums who now man the entrance and premises of the company to prevent some of the partners from gaining access to the company.

Oil Flow Service Limited had on January 13, 2021 approached Akwa Ibom State government, through the state Investment and Industrial Promotion Council (AKIIPOC) to express interest on purchase of Qua Steel Obsolete Metals.

Though the “expression of interest” letter was solely signed by one of the partners, Winifred Benedict Akpaka, other partners are: Mr Lucky Akhiwu, Donn Chuma Maduagwu, Osifo Godwin Osas, Uchenna Standhope Ukaku and Sunny Edah.

Our source who crave anonymity due to tensed security situation in the area at the moment, tendered documents which gave insight into the crisis.

In one of the documents made available to The LENS reporter in Uyo, a company- KAM STEEL was drafted in by Oil Flow Service Ltd as principal partner to facilitate the N200 million payment for purchase of Quo-Steel metal scrap.

On joining the deal, KAM STEEL, made available the said sum with an agreement that “Nothing leaves the site until KAM STEEL exhaust the agreed materials paid for.

“On the 9th day of April, while at the Qua Steel site, I discovered from one of my partners, and our Principal partner-KAM STEEL LTD that Mr Lucky Akhiwu and his cohorts criminally conspired with the above mentioned persons and collected some millions of naira without the knowledge of other partners,” said one of the petitions reported to have been written to the police by one of the partners.

Our undercover further hinted that while some of the partners, including Winifred Akpaka are of the opinion that the purchased obsolete steel metals must not be sold out to external persons until KAM STEEL, the principal partner exhaust the materials as initially agreed, Lucky Akhiwu on the contrary, is reported to have defaulted by collecting money from other non-partners for materials already sold out.

The Project Director, KAM STEEL LTD, Mr Idowu Adeshina when contacted said the contract agreement was breached by Mr Lucky Akhiwu shortly after the site was opened for operations as he had allegedly turned around to sell the metals to others without his company exhausting what was already paid for.

“When Oil Flow won the bid, it had no money to pay the N200m requested by the state government. When we were contacted, we asked for an extension of time by 24 hours to do our due diligence. We also requested that we pay the money directly to the state government’s account, but with their authorisation because we did not fully know them.

“We paid a total sum of N250m, N200m to the state government and N50m to Oil Flow as those who won the bid. The agreement was that we must lift all 1667 tons before any other person is permitted into the site, but shortly after opening the site for business, we started seeing strange faces who came in to claim that certain sections of metals had already been sold out to them by Lucky”.

“So far we have lifted 1100 tons, but under strict contest and restrictions as every attempt to cut out material is resisted by those who claim to have paid some millions to Lucky” he said

When contacted on phone, Mr Lucky Akhiwu, who is Managing Director of Oil-Flow Service Nig. Ltd said “We don’t have any issue and I don’t know how this one concern journalist. When asked about his relationship with his partners, he answered, “I don’t have any partner”.

Youth President of Afaha Eket, Engr. Jacob Jacob who was also contacted admitted to being aware of the internal misunderstanding in the company, but however said that such will have no negative impact on the community.

“Those are their internal crisis, it does not affect the community because it has to do with company’s problem. We actually do not know their terms of agreement. All we owe them as a community is an enabling environment. They have to settle their problems among themselves or go to court.

“As for hoodlums, they will not be able to operate here without the support of the community”. he said

Winifred Akpaka, the lady reported to have spoken against the breach of contract, when also called on phone declined comment, but assured that relevant security agencies have been duly notified of the ongoing tension in the company and threats to her life.

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