Controversy surrounds Nigeria’s $600m seaport investment deal with Maersk

FILE PHOTO: Maersk's logo is seen in stored containers at Zona Franca in Barcelona, Spain, November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo
Source: X07584

Nigeria's presidency is embroiled in controversy over a purported $600 million seaport investment deal with Danish logistics giant A.P. Moller-Maersk.

The controversy arises from conflicting reports between the Nigerian presidency's announcement and Maersk's response, raising questions about the transparency and accuracy of the deal.

The Deal

According to the Nigerian presidency, the government had finalised a $600 million investment agreement with Maersk during a meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia. President Bola Tinubu reportedly met with Maersk Chairman Robert Maersk Uggla, where Uggla pledged the investment, emphasising the company's belief in Nigeria's potential. Tinubu expressed the government's commitment to modernising and automating ports to enhance trade efficiency and curb corruption. "We believe in Nigeria, and we will invest $600 million in existing facilities and make the ports accommodating for bigger ships," the Nigerian presidency quoted Uggla, Reuters reported.

The controversy

However, doubts surfaced following Maersk's failure to confirm the existence of such an agreement. Reports from Lloyd’s List revealed that despite Tinubu's assertions, Maersk officials denied any formal deal with the Nigerian government, casting doubt on the authenticity of the announced investment.

Further, a video surfaced on social media showing a purported meeting where a Maersk representative pledged a $500 million investment in Nigeria. This video, shared by a special assistant to President Tinubu's new media team, Reno Omokri, was captioned, “Hear Keith Svendsen, Global VP of Maersk, Promising To Invest $500 Million In Nigeria-Who Is Lying Between @ARISEtv and @Maersk?”

Omokri's post on his X page defending the government

Omokri's post contradicts Maersk's public statements, raising questions about the validity of the claims made by both parties. Again, Tinubu’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Dada Olusegun, posted on his X page that “The media’s headline choice sparked controversy, not Maersk’s. Maersk hasn’t contradicted or denied the Federal Government of Nigeria’s statements.”

Olusegun's post on X


Amidst the conflicting narratives, reactions from Nigerians on social media highlight a growing scepticism towards official announcements from the presidency. Many recalled previous instances where similar announcements were later disputed or disproved, leading to concerns about transparency and accountability in government dealings.

A researcher sought to clarify the details surrounding the new video of a Maersk official making a commitment to Nigeria
An X user recalled other similar instances
An X user berating the government
Another also listed similar instances
A broadcaster who claimed to have reached out to Maersk posted
AN X user berated the Nigerian government

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