Lokoja River Port, Three Others Abandoned, Rot Away

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Four river ports in the country, Lokoja in Kogi State; Baro in Niger State; Onitsha in Anambra State and Oguta in Imo State are currently rotting away despite government intervention of N13.65 billion on rehabilitation. While two of the river ports, Onitsha and Baro have been completed, the Oguta and Lokoja have allegedly been abandoned by the contractors.

Findings revealed that work on Baro, Lokoja and Oguta river ports have attained 100, 57 and 75 per cent completion respectively, while the Onitsha port has been completed and awaiting concession.

Recall that the Lokoja river port in Kogi State was awarded in 2011/2012 at a cost of N4, 112,346,572.26 to Inter Bau Construction Ltd, and was expected to be completed in 57 weeks.

The Oguta river port in Imo State was also awarded at the same time to Scott Amede Engineering Ltd for a fee of N2, 743,625,787.15.

Also the Baro River port in Niger State was awarded at a cost of N2, 563,499,248.00 by the Federal Executive Council to a Chinese company, Messrs CGGC Global Project.

But, the Onitsha River port which was built by ex-President Shehu Shagari and rehabilitated by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration at a cost of N4.6 billion in 2012 has been completed but awaits concessioning for over six years.

Speaking recently, a source close to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) informed our correspondent that the equipment in Onitsha port are fast deteriorating because it has never been put to use six years after it was rehabilitated and commissioned by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The source who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak said the Baro port in Niger State which has also been completed lacks access roads.

According to him, “I learnt that Baro port is completed, but how will they put the port to use without an access road? How will the trucks move cargoes to and from the port?”

“On Lokoja, the contractors have not done enough. They got mobilised and nothing was done. This is the second contractor working on it. For instance, a contractor was mobilised with N800 million and nothing concrete came out of it till today.”

He added that government has refused to concession the Onitsha port six years after it was completed with state of the art equipment.

The visibly worried senior management staff queried why concession of a river port will take government six years to actualise, leaving multi-million dollar equipment to rot away.

When contacted, the spokesman of NIWA, Tayo Fadile confirmed that the Baro River port was not being used due to lack of access roads linking the port and Onitsha River port was awaiting concession.

In his words, “The Baro River port is completed, but there is no access road linking the port. While the Onitsha port is awaiting concession.” Fadile was, however, silent on Oguta and Lokoja river ports.

Credit: Tribune

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