On October 21, 2020, the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), located on the Lagos Island, was among several other public and private assets vandalized and or burnt by supported hoodlums following the hijack of the EndSars protests.
This action has been roundly condemned by public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations, as the action amounted to billions of naira being lost.
Nonetheless, the expectations in many quarters are that these assets, especially the government-owned, are covered by comprehensive insurance and that the insurance companies are to underwrite the cost of the damage.
However, there are indications that some government agencies affected by this development are not ready to open up on the level of insurance cover and whether they have been paying the premiums.
A particular case in question of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), as its spokesman has consistently shunned questions concerning the insurance cover of the affected building.
Several questions sent to the General Manager, in charge of Communications, Adam Jato, concerning insurance cover were left unanswered, raising suspicions that the NPA may have compromised on its premium payments or never insured the building in the first place.
It would be recalled that there has been controversy as to whether the rehabilitation of the building should be done by the insurance company or by the government.
However, foremost maritime expert and president of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero, had stated that since the NPA building is believed to have been insured for fire and theft, it is the responsibility of the insurer to rehabilitate the building and replace stolen items.
He said: “There are classes of insurance but if the losses suffered by the NPA in the incident were covered, then the insurer takes full responsibility for indemnifying the insured of the losses suffered. That is the essence of insurance. Going again to take money from government is double charge. I don’t want to call it fraud.
“Once the building is insured, the insurance company takes responsibility for everything; that is the truth,” Amiwero stressed.
Recall that when the lawmakers from the National Assembly visited the NPA headquarters recently to assess the level of damage and loss, they asked the Management of NPA to jack up its 2021 budget to cover for the rehabilitation and replacement of stolen equipment.
Speaking during the visit, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbour, Garba Datti Muhammad said that members both of the chambers of the National Assembly were in Lagos to assess the level damage done to the NPA building.
“We have gone round and seen the extent of the damage to the building and vehicles that were burnt in the fire incident. This will help the National Assembly to assist NPA in rebuilding the damage on the torched building.
“However, part of our discussion with them was for the NPA to bring its budget to the National Assembly because we advised them to adjust the budget to accommodate the rebuilding of the damages,” he explained.