Bad road stalls completion of N2.5b Baro port project
The Baro River port project may have been stalled as the deplorable condition of the access road has stopped mobilisation of necessary equipment to the site.
The Guardian gathered that the N2.5 billion port project in Niger State, which was approved in 2012, is yet to have some of its acquired cargo handling equipment moved to site due to the bad condition of the port access road.
The delay in completion has also deprived youths of about 2,000 direct and indirect new jobs.
Recall that the Baro River Port was awarded by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to Messrs CGGC Global Projects Limited, in 2012, at the cost of N2.5 billion.
But since 2015, the contractor handling the cargo equipment has not been able to deliver due to the bad roads.
In fact, no one could access the River Port by road, as it has been cut-off by gullies. The access road leading to the River Port from the Gegu Expressway in Kogi State is not motorable, and needed urgent rehabilitation by the Federal Government, if the project is to be of any economic value to the nation.
The Managing Director of First Index Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the installation of the cargo handling equipment at the River Port, Opeyemi Olabanji, said they were going through serious challenges because of the deplorable condition of the access road.
Olabanji said they couldn’t move their cranes and other cargoes to the port, adding that the cargo handling equipment are very heavy and the trucks carrying the equipment cannot pass through the bad road.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to urgently fix the road in the interest of the port and the economy at large.
Olabanji also appealed to the government to commence permanent solution on the dilapidated access road, if it wants the river port to be in proper use and contribute to Nigeria’s development.
“I commend the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), for the palliative measures they are putting to make sure the equipment arrives at the River Port but emphasis must be made for a lasting solution to the deplorable condition of the road.
“Baro River Port, which is considered as the flagship port of the Northern part of the country cannot function as it is now,” he said.
A top official of NIWA said even though government had invested over N3.5 billion in infrastructure development, the port still remained unused, and called the inclusion of its reconstruction in the 2019 budget, to revive the fortunes of the facility.
When contacted, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Tayo Fadile, said the facility had been completed in 2016, but inaccessible due to the bad state of the road.