Posted on March 27, 2017
The House of Representatives has indicated an interest to investigate the dredging of the lower River Niger project on which several billions was sunk, before being abandoned .
The House will also investigate the establishment of land port in Idah and Jamata in Kogi by Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited.
The motion for the investigation was moved by Rep. Benjamin Okolo (APC-Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency) and was unanimously adopted at the plenary on Wednesday.
Okolo said the project to dredge the lower River Niger was an important and strategic action initiated by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
He said the project which stretches through 572km, would affect 152 communities on the bank of the River Niger from Edo, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Kogi, Niger and to Rivers.
The law maker said the capital and maintenance for the dredging of 118km from Onitsha to Idah was awarded to Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited at the cost of N10.4 billion.
Okolo alleged that the work on the said project never took-off till date.
He said the dredging of 108km from Idah to Jamata which was awarded to the same company at the cost of N13.8 billion, was skeletal.
Okolo said that the project had reached 62 per cent completion as at 2014 but was later abandoned.
The lawmaker said the economic activities that could have been revitalised by the reason of the dredging had remained in comatose, with those who engaged in the economic activities now seriously groaning in frustration.
According to him, the safe alternative means of transporting goods and services through the river and cargoes entering and departing the country which the project was out to achieve was yet to see the light of the day.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara mandated the Committee on Ports and Waterways to investigate the matter and report to the house within four weeks for further actions.
In the meantime, consequent upon his dedicated to duty, and coupled with his unblemished records as a detribalized Nigerian, the South South Independent Newspaper Publishers Association has honoured Onne Ports Manager, Alhassan Ismaila Abubakar with the Award of “Astute Administrator” of the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
The Chairman of the group, Prince Charles Umejie said the group decided to honour the Onne Port Manager because of his track record of achievements and commitments to duties in the Maritime Industry over the years
The award was presented to him at Onne NPA’s office recently, “Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that you work for is key and strategic for the wellbeing of the nation. You believe in One United Nigeria. The strength of our country lies in NPA, where you work and contribute your quota”, Prince observed, noting that the award was earlier slated to be presented to Onne Port Manager last year in Asaba, Delta State during their organization’s conference, but for the Ports Manager’s busy schedule which did not permit him to attend personally for collection; hence they had to honour him in his office.
He said the group decided to visit him to make the presentation, because of the high regard the group had for him for believing in one united, and Indivisible Nigeria; describing the Authority as key to economic revival and survival of the nation, especially considering the role it plays as a major revenue earner next to oil.
“We in South South Independent Newspaper Publishers Association are partners. We are working to ensure synergy and to appropriately disseminate information to the Nigerian Public on Port activities within Onne Port”, the South South Publishers Chairman Stated.
He expressed appreciation to the Port Manager for being positively disposed to interface and collaborate with all Port Stakeholders, in order to deliver on the goals and objectives of NPA.
The Prince also requested the Onne Port Manager to update them on what he met on assumption of office, the goals he hoped to achieve, and what challenges he met as he assumed duties.
Responding, the Port Manager appreciated the group for their thoughtful comments and for the award, even as he acknowledged that NPA is Nigeria’s national brand, with national spread.
“NPA operate as a mini Nigeria, structured to reflect national spread, in its workforce and in other considerations”, Onne Port Manager added.
He went further to commend the first ever Female Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, describing her as a transparent and committed leader.
“The MD is an open and very transparent lady. She also believes in spreading benefits in NPA, to reflect federal character. We are happy to have her as our MD”, Alhassan stated unequivocally.
The Port chief executive, said NPA is committed to diversifying Nigeria revenue, as alternative to oil. He reinterated that the MD is focused and committed to efficiency in Port operations, as a way to making Nigerian Ports more attractive to the Port stakeholders.
“As a Port, we have zero tolerance to corruption”, the Onne Port Manager sounded, adding that the Port runs a transparent and accountable processes to ensure efficiency.
He however complained of ever decreasing vessel traffic to Onne Port at the time he assumed office, but expressed optimism that things were rapidly and positively improving.
Abubakar noted that while imports are dropping, that export is also on the increase, declaring that Indoroma, LNG export profiles through Onne Port facilities are on the increase. He said as a Port, Onne Port Management is leaving no stone unturned to make export facilities friendlier.
He observed that security in and around Onne Port has improved tremendously, owing to the synergy and collaboration that exist between Onne Port and other Security agencies, including Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Navy, Marine police, Nigeria Immigration Service, NDLEA, etc
. He revealed that the Eastern Ports, particularly Onne Port is now more attractive to importers and other stakeholders doing business within them.
He explained that Terminal Operators’ charges at Onne and other Eastern Ports were simplified, making the ports more users – friendly.