Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed that it has concluded plans to build Deep Seaports at Bonny in Rivers State, Warri in Delta State and Lekki, in Lagos State, to reduce the gridlock witnessed on Apapa Wharf road.
Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, gave the assurance while receiving members of the Governing Board, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) led by the Chairman, Mai Mala Buni on a courtesy call to his office, Abuja.
The minister further noted that the problem has persisted over the years due to the fact that what the country has as ports can best be described as River ports, emphasising that they neither have the depth nor the capacity to berth large Ships.
The Minister also disclosed that with the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to build Deep Seaports at Bonny and Warri, Importers from Aba, Onitsha or Port Harcourt will no longer have business importing Cargoes through Apapa Ports thereby saving man-hours wasted trying to clear goods and transport to its final destinations.
“We call on all agencies and stakeholders involved in port operations to deliver on their responsibilities. The no consequences for failing to deliver on assignments has further compounded the problems at the ports.
“Let me inform you that the federal government has concluded plans to build Deep Seaports at Bonny in Rivers State, Warri in Delta State and Lekki in Lagos State to reduce the gridlock witnessed on Apapa Wharf road,” he said.
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Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Governing Board, Hon. Buni, commended the Minister for the support given to the Board, promising that it will formulate policies that would not only help NSC to fulfill its statutory role but diversify the economy, create employment and uplift the standard of living of the people.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Secretary further lauded the Minister for restructuring the organizational structure of Nigerian Shippers’ Council from five to seven for efficient management.
“The Minister also deserve commendation for the review of salary structure of the agency which has resulted in motivating the staff for efficient job performance,” he said.
On the issue of challenges confronting the NSC, Buni appealed to the Minister to assist the Board earn the strong political support required to have unfettered access to the ports and other establishments to carry out its statutory functions.