President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to bring to the Federal Executive Council, a memorandum to link the LEKKI Deep Seaport with the railway network in the country.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, following President Buhari’s inspection of the Lekki Deep Seaport located in the Lagos Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State.
During the course of the inspection, the President received firm assurances that the port, which has a concession period of 45 years and sits in a land area of 90 hectares, will be completed on schedule by September, 2022.
Speaking at the occasion, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, said the reason he persuaded the President to visit Lekki bothered on first “to publicise the seaport so that they will know that this government is building a seaport and the first seaport in Nigeria. The other ports you have in Nigeria are all river ports because they tilt off the sea. The second reason was to put the heat on them and with that, we are almost ready. if not for the equipment, they can actually get this place ready before June but they said all the equipment are arriving by June and installation will take them till September and it can be commissioned by September.”
Continuing, he said: “You see the miracle of bringing a President to this place. That is why Presidents must also inspect projects, that will hasten the process if there is money for completion”.
Regarding fears that the Federal Government might disuse or neglect Tincan and Apapa ports when the Lekki Deep Sea commences operations, Amaechi said: “This is a private port, no agency will run here. They will be present but they will not run it because it is a private port. It is also an automated port, so the traffic witnessed at Apapa will not be here. Also, all goods won’t come to Lagos; goods will go to Warri, Port Harcourt, so what government needs to do is to either rehabilitate those ports or build new ones”.
He further explained that “only the Bonny Deep Sea project might have an integral participation of the Federal Government as the Ibaka, Lekki and Badagry are private investments under the FG’s policy of build, operate and transfer for a tenor of years.
Although the land belongs to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the new ways of doing things in the world is to allow private sectors to get involved in a lot of the things government has been doing”.
Also speaking during the Presidential inspection of the Lekki port, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko explained that the port, which has been under construction for years, would be ready for a test run in September this year after which the first commercial visit can be received at the port.
“Some of the businesses we have lost to other neighbouring West African countries due to drought limitation will be regained. There will be employment creation and increased revenue for the government. It will create competition and compel other terminal operators to up their games, to reduce cargo dwell time at their terminals”, Bello said.
In his bcontirution , the
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime explained that the Lekki port will change the face of maritime in Nigeria.
“From the point of view of an economic regulator, it has been something we have been looking forward to. We have dreamt that this day would come for a number of very important reasons. We have to understand that because of the draught that we are going to have here at this Lekki seaport and for the first time in our maritime domain, we are going to have the kind of vessels that have never berthed in our ports”.
The President was accompanied on the inspection by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, the APC, National Leader, Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed amongst others.
Director, Press & PR
March 22, 2022