There is palpable fear in Afaha Eket, Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State over the worsening internal crisis rocking the ‘Oil Flow Qua Steel Partners’ a steel mining company in the community.
The small but serene community has become tense recently due to increased military presence as well as strange faces some of whom man the premises of the metal site to prevent some of the partners from gaining access to it.
Some residents of the community have expressed concern over the development as they don’t freely move around some areas in their community due to fear of the unknown.
On the origin of the crisis, a source who pleaded anonymity, told journalists on Friday that the Oil Flow Service Limited on January 13, 2021 approached Akwa Ibom State government, through the State Investment and Industrial Promotion Council to express interest in purchase of Qua Steel Obsolete Metals.
The source said, “The expression of interest” letter was solely signed by one of the partners, Winifred Akpaka, other partners in Oil-Flow include; Mr Lucky Akhiwu, Donn Chuma Maduagwu, Osifo Godwin Osas, Uchenna Standhope Ukaku and Sunny Edah and it was granted.
“But the Oil Flow Qua-Steel Partners had, due to inability to raise the N200m payment for purchase of the metals, drafted KAM STEEL as principal partner.
“On joining the deal, KAM STEEL made available the said sum with an agreement that “Nothing leaves the site until it exhausts the agreed materials paid for.
‘’Trouble started when the Oil Flow Service limited allegedly breached the contract with KAM STEEL by selling parts of the sites to non-partners who also planted their security personnel around the site.
However, one of the partners in a petition to the police obtained by journalists wrote, “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) who made this transaction possible by giving us an upfront payment of N250m for the purchase of the Qua Steel LTD, that Mr Lucky Akhiwu and his cohorts conspired with the above mentioned persons and collected some millions of naira without the knowledge of other partners.”
It was gathered that while some of the partners, including, Winifred Akpaka were of the opinion that the purchased obsolete steel must not be sold out to external persons until KAM STEEL, the principal partner exhausts the agreed materials paid for, Lucky Akhiwu on the other hand reportedly went against the agreement by collecting money from other non partners for materials already sold out.
The Project Director, KAM STEEL, Mr Idowu Adeshina when contacted, said the contract agreement was breached shortly after the site was opened for operations adding that those who breached the contract have turned around to sell the metals to others without 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 certain sections of Metals had already been sold out to them by other persons.
“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 other partners,” Adeshina alleges.
When contacted, 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 concerns journalists.
When asked about his relationship with his partners, he added “I don’t have any partner.”
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