Parlous infrastructure undermines N2.5b utilisation of cargo-handling equipment
The N2.5 billion Baro ports project appears to have received a lease of life after the deplorable condition of the access road delayed the project for several months. But there is the worry that the project may not live up to expectations if road infrastructure problem persists.
The six-year-old project got a ray of hope recently after complete installation of handling equipment at the port, even though stakeholders are still worried that the poor condition of access road to the port might cause major setback to the commissioning and future operations
Baro River Port, which is the flagship port in the North is expected to be commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari “in no distant future”.Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, who confirmed this during a visit to the port to ascertain the level of work done so far, said the cargo handling equipment installation has been completed and this is official.
Mamora said commended the contractors for a job well done and also the community for being a good host and encouraged them to ensure the safety and security of the River Port.The managing director said the equipment at the Baro Port are first class and will bring glory not only to the Community and the state but the entire nation.
It will be recalled that the Mamorahad directed NIWA engineers to rehabilitate the access road to Baro Port to enable the contractors to move their equipment to site and that has been achieved.
The Guardian gathered that a palliative measure was adopted on the road for it to be accessible, especially during the dry season.Stakeholders that are close to the project told The Guardian that the construction company only took the advantage of the dry season to access the port, noting that the port will become impassable immediately rain begins next year.
They therefore urged President Buhari to urgently award the road contract to a reputable engineering firm that would build a standard road into the important port facility.“It would not speak well for the President to commission a port and then it becomes useless due to bad road. The road should have been part of the project from the initial stage, but it is unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this situation. Mr President should take immediate action so that Baro port will not be another waste project,” s source said.
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. The delay in completion has deprived youths of about 2,000 direct and indirect new jobs.However, Mamora has promised to improve the staff welfare, while he encouraged staff to always put in their best to service delivery in 2019.The NIWA boss said the amendment Act is still alive with the National Assembly and all efforts are being made to see the successful passage of the Act.