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Uncertainty looms over rail connection of N6bn Lekki seaport as FG gives 2022 deadline

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Uncertainty currently looms over the connection of the N6bn Lekki deep seaport to rail services for seamless evacuation processes of cargoes. This is even as the Federal Government has given the promoters of the Lekki deep seaport a 2022 deadline for commencement of cargo operations at the port.

Addressing newsmen on Sunday when he paid an on-the-spot-inspection exercise to the facility, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi stated that, “t was in March 2018 that the contract talks for this facility were launched. Yes, they have had glitches, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a lockdown, but it is important that this project becomes operational by 2022.

“Am I impressed by the pace of work? As a layman, my views might not matter, however, we must tie them to a written agreement that it must be commissioned by Mr President in 2022.

“There are so many things tied to a port construction. As a layman, I might not be able to say categorically that by 2022, Lekki seaport will be operational. There are so many factors that could work against that date like force majeure issues or if anything goes wrong with the contractor. That is why we need to tie them to a verbal and written agreement that by 2022, Lekki seaport must become operational.

“With Lekki, Bonny and Ibom deep seaport all expected to come upstream very soon, the issue of too many river ports with the shallow draft will become a thing of the past in Nigeria’s maritime sector.”

When asked if, by 2022, the Lekki seaport will already be connected to rail, the Honourable Minister of Transportation declined to speak on the issue.

In his words, “I am not the Minister of Works, neither am I the Lagos State Government, so whether there will be rail connection to Lekki port by 2022 is not what I can talk on.”

Earlier in the day, the minister, while touring the premises of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) expressed shock at the level of destruction carried out on the agency’s headquarters by unknown persons.

“I have made decisions that with the level of damage done here, NPA should be able to come forward to the cabinet to ask for the reconstruction depending on integrity. The damage is disastrous. No matter how you want to vent your anger over police brutality, you don’t need to destroy people’s properties.

“I was once a student, and we never took laws into our hands even when we were protesting. If you remember in 1983, during the time of Major General Buhari and Babangida, we were always on the street as students. We never took laws into our hands and we never destroyed public property.

“During the time of Tai Solarin, there was a national protest that we partook in, and we never took laws into our hands. It is legitimate to protest, but it is illegitimate to hide under the guise of protest to destroy public properties.

“Under Nigerian laws, it is legitimate to protest but the law does not allow for the burning of properties or to close highways because there are other road users who want to use the highway.

“I think this should not just end here because if some people are not punished, some others might want to repeat it in future.”

Hoodlums who purportedly hijacked the #EndSARS protests, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, set ablaze the headquarters of the NPA at Marina, Lagos, and vandalised different offices located within the six-storey building, carting away laptops, photocopying machines and water dispensers.

Nigeria Tribune

 

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