By Goodluck Adeoye
It is no longer news that a company called LILE (LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise) which is a duly registered company in the British Virgin Islands owns the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL).
The shareholding structure is substantially made up of two foreign companies namely: SABLE OFFSHORE INVESTMENTS and ALSBA Ventures Group. Both companies are registered entities in the British Virgin Islands otherwise known as the safe haven for tax dodgers.
SABLE Offshore Investments commands a whopping 53 per cent stake in LADOL while ALSBA Ventures Group takes an impressive 31 per cent of the shares. This only leaves a share percentage of 16 per cent for the remaining shareholders, which includes key characters currently at the helm of LADOL.
This unprecedented development is baffling to many industry experts in Nigeria as for many years LADOL and its affiliates have flaunted the perception of being a company which stands for the Nigeria values and interests. It is also on record that LADOL and its elements have embarked on several campaigns in the media and the general press both nationally and internationally showcasing themselves as “A wholly Nigeria owned Company”.
This obvious propaganda has generated endorsements and accolades from many quarters in the industry and the country at large for a company, which when put under the microscope contributes very little, if any benefit to the Nigerian economy or the Nigerian people at large.
Through its campaign of misrepresentation, LADOL has been enriched to the brim through benefits of local content. This has undoubtedly given them an edge with investments at LADOL at an all-time high; dividends have also been equally handsome for the foreign shareholding companies even at a time the Nigerian economy was in deep recession and many companies in the same sector groaning under the yolk of lack of jobs throughout the industry.
How can a company, which its majority shareholders are abroad, command a strong position in any decision-making, which can be based on the local needs and the development of the local economy in Nigeria?
As Nigeria tirelessly continues to promote local development and enhance job creation in all its industries, some of her citizens who have benefitted from such initiatives have decided to avert the benefits of these policies. This diversion of the benefits away from the local industry continues to hemorrhage the backbone of the Nigerian economy.
As a nation should we allow such actions to continue to take place?
The disease known as the “enrichment of oneself to the detriment of all others” is one of the biggest players in unemployment, underdevelopment and underutilisation of Nigeria’s workforce.
On the 7th of December 7, 2015, Dr. Amy Jadesimi while speaking on a BBC world news programme “business Live,” declared that “we are the only 100% Nigerian Private Free zone in Nigeria.”
But considering the shareholding structure of the company, we can rightly say that this statement was absolutely false as it does not represent the true ownership of LADOL.
With all the facts available, we can only digest this to be one that has been orchestrated over the years to outsmart the Nigerian people.
The sheer audacity of LADOL to publicly engage the media in such acts of misrepresentation of their true identity as a foreign-owned company is quite baffling, to say the least.
Indeed, they have been dishonest to the country, to our people, to our government agencies and to the international community.
Should Nigeria continue to allow such companies to conduct business activities at the highest level and represent the country as local companies on the world stage in this calculated manner?
……………Adeoye writes from Yenagoa