Chinazor Megbolu |.
The Federal Government has blamed insecurity as the major reason importers and exporters use Lagos ports and abandoned Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar Seaports.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, said this on Wednesday during a programme on Channels Television, where he noted that another challenge is that the Calabar and Warri ports cede so easily and so it’s difficult to continue to recede them regularly.
He also explained that the government had to take a decision on the construction of new deep seaports to decongest the Lagos ports to ameliorate the challenges being faced in the sector.
‘’The Ministry of Transport or the NPA does not have the responsibility of determining where an importer or exporter will transact his business.
“So if the importer or exporter decides to transact his business through Lagos, then there will be that congestion, it does not necessarily mean it is because the port is not efficient.
‘’The problem we have with congestion is that there is insecurity at the sea which we are addressing and we are having a battle with private interests that have captured security contracts from several government agencies or private investors or private companies that deal with maritime.
“Now that we want part of the water because we have put a security infrastructure that will protect the water from beginning to the end of our international waterways, they are fighting back, they are doing all sorts of things, petitioning everybody, petitioning me, go to National Assembly, go to EFCC, go to NFIU, everywhere and I am just watching.
‘’So the first thing to do is to address the insecurity, the moment we address the insecurity, it will encourage importers from Onitsha, Aba and others to use the Port Harcourt seaport or Warri seaport or Calabar seaport.
“So it’s not about the seaport or river ports are not available. Again the Calabar port cedes just like the Warri port. They cede so easily, so its difficult to continue to recede them regularly, so what is the solution to that.
‘’The President has approved the construction of three new seaports in Nigeria. He has approved the construction of Lekki Deep seaport.
” Lekki Deep seaport should be ready next year, 2022, I insisted on that because I want this current government to commission the project.
“He has also approved the construction of the Bonny Deep seaport; we are currently trying to acquire land so that the construction can commence. It commences almost at the same time with Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line either by end of February or first week in March,’’ Amaechi said.
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