The attention of the Plateau State Government has been drawn to Media reports purportedly emanating from a Press Conference said to have been granted by one Engr. Lawanson Ngoa, Managing Director of Bleneson Services Nig. Ltd, the former Contractor engaged by the Plateau State Government to carry out its Legacy Projects dubbed the Lalong Legacy Projects.
During the said Press Conference allegedly held in Jos on 31st October 2022, the Managing Director of the erstwhile contracting Firm made spurious, false and misleading allegations against the Plateau State Government over the termination of the Contract and its re-award to a new Contractor with a view to misleading the Public, currying undeserved sympathy and unfairly disparaging the Government of Plateau State.
Among other things, the said Engr. Ngoa claimed that the Government has no right to terminate the Contract “while he is still alive” and that there is a pending case before the Court on the matter.
Although he did not State the Court where his case is pending or the nature of the case and the reliefs he seeks, the Government has found it necessary to put the records straight before he gets away with his misleading assertions.
- Sequel to the failure of the contractor to deliver the projects within agreed Timelines, the Plateau State Government issued a Notice of Termination of the Contract with Bleneson Services Ltd “the Contractor” (not Egnr. Lawanson Ngoa), via a Letter on 9th March 2021 in line with the letters and spirit of the Agreement of the Parties which which allowed either Party to terminate the Contract upon giving appropriate Notice as stipulated under the Contract.
- Upon receipt of the Notice of Termination, Bleneson neither responded nor contested the reason for the Termination as given by the Plateau State Government in the Letter.
- After the period of Notice of Termination had elapsed without any response or reaction from Bleneson, the Government of Plateau State considered the Termination as concluded, with same having been accepted by conduct, by the silence of the Contractor.
- Indeed ,after the Termination, (and this fact is verifiable), Bleneson Services Ltd evacuated all its Materials, Machinery and Staff from the Project Sites and moved them out of the State.
- It was after therefore clearly an afterthought that Bleneson went to Court to seek for Orders of Injunction supposedly to stop the Plateau State Government from terminating the Contract- a Contract already Terminated vide the State’s Letter of Termination, dated 9th March, 2021. This was clearly a futile effort to invalidate the completed termination. It was therefore no surprise that the High Court of Plateau State denied Bleneson the Ex-parte Orders sought behind the State Government, as no Court of Law can restrain an act that is already completed!
- Eventually, based on a Notice of Preliminary Injunction filed in the Suit on account of Bleneson’s refusal to abide by the a Pre-action Protocol required to be issued by every Litigant before commencement of the Suit, the High Court of Plateau State, after hearing the Objection struck out the Suit.
- Rather than comply with the requirement of the Rules of Court in order to qualify to reinstitute the Suit by doing what the Company ought to have done ab initio -,i.e, approaching the Plateau State Government in writing with its claims, which if not amicably resolved will then confer on it the right to institute a Suit of damages, Bleneson chose to appeal the Ruling of the Court to the Court of Appeal, which said Appeal is still pending.
- It is instructive that the Contract with Bleneson is a Contract for the provision of Services, which each party could have Terminated or even repudiated, whether rightly or wrongly. Bleneson has no right under the Law to insist on carrying out a Contract the State has clearly evinced an intention not to allow it continue with. It is within the State’s right to do so. By continuing with its work, Plateau State Government is not in breach of any Court Order. If there was any, Engr. Ngoa would have cited it during his Press Conference.
- Upon successful termination of the Contract and repossession of the Project Sites, Plateau State Government, in line with the Terms of the Contract, wrote Bleneson to come forward for a Meeting towards appointment of an Independent Valuer to ascertain claims (if any) and to facilitate reconciliation of Accounts as envisaged, which Invitation Bleneson rebuffed!
- Bleneson flatly refused to come forward and indeed Engr Lawson Ngoa threatened physical harm to Staff of the Plateau State Government who went to dispatch Letters of Invitation to its Office in Abuja to that effect. Even Staff of Courier Companies were threatened with Physical harm if they dared come to Blenson’s Office to deliver such Mails! The State Government has the Managing Director of Bleneson on Tape issuing Threats of physical harm against our Staff. To think that the same person now claims the Plateau State Government never invited him for any resolution Meeting is the height of mischief by someone we have since come to know as a Serial Liar!
- No one should be fooled by the misleading and false claims by the Managing Director of Bleneson that the termination was done behind them or they were not invited to make their claims. On the contrary, the company and its management chose to ignore the invitation perhaps to have sufficient reasons to play to the gallery in an attempt to blackmail the Government.
- Following the refusal of Bleneson to Cooperate and put forward its claims for work done or losses incurred (if any), Stakeholders in the project met and took a decision to invite the President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) to appoint an Independent Valuer to assess the level of work done to allow for reconciliation of Accounts.
- The task was successfully carried out and a Report submitted which is available for Bleneson to access anytime it is willing to engage with the State.
- Because the records are intact and the fact that the process of terminating the contract was painstakingly followed in line with due process, the doors of the Plateau State Government are still open for Bleneson to come forward with any claims for debt, damages or losses incurred (if any) as a result of the Termination.
- As for the Termination of the Contract which is for Services, the Plateau State Government has exercised its rights as enshrined in the contract and has given Bleneson ample opportunity to take advantage of the same terms.
- The Contract with Bleneson therefore stood terminated and irreversible upon the expiration of the Notice of Termination. Bleneson and its Managing Director are at liberty to continue to live in Denial! What is more, the Plateau State Government has since taken possession of its Sites and found another Contractor to complete the Projects which could not be delivered by Bleneson as agreed in the erstwhile Contract.
- To think that Bleneson and his array of Lawyers are pretending to be unaware of the elementary position of our Law that you cannot force a mere Contract of Service on an unwilling Party and that Bleneson’s remedy lies in a Claim for Damages for wrongful Termination only (if any) is a crying Shame! It is noteworthy that despite the finality of the Termination by the State, Bleneson and his Lawyers are yet to file any Case in pursuit of what is his actual due, assuming the Termination was wrongful – a Claim for Damages, resorting instead to instituting a multiplicity of Court Cases seeking to restrain an act that has already been completed and can no longer be restrained! Bleneson has sadly added to this, a media campaign hype of misinformation, lies and mischief.
- The Government of Plateau State wishes to make it categorically clear that it refuses to join Bleneson in its aimless and foolish Voyage to nowhere, in the process of which the Company is serially abusing the process of our Courts of Law.
- Members of the Public are therefore advised to ignore any Media gymnastics and misinformation by Bleneson and its Managing Director Engr. Lawanson Ngoa that seeks to turn facts on their head with a view to attracting for the former Contractor undeserved sympathy and unnecessary attention.
- Bleneson‘s Managing Director is assured that the Doors of the State Government remain Open for discussions and resolution of all post-Contract issues with Bleneson, whenever that Company and its Management is ready for such discussions.
- The Plateau State Government reassures the Public and the good Citizens of the State that all steps taken so far by her with respect to the Lalong Legacy Project are strictly in line with the Terms of its Contract with Bleneson Services Nigeria Limited; in the best interest of our State and perfectly within the Laws of Nigeria.
- God bless Plateau State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria as we THINK and ACT Plateau always.
Hon. Dan Manjang, mnipr
Commisioner for Information and Communication,
1st November 2022.
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