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Senate, NPA fault $1.6bn Lekki Deep Seaport scheme

Just as the Senate has raised concerns on the approvals granted for the construction of the Lekki Deep Seaport without due consideration for intermodal railways services, the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman yesterday expressed worry on why approval was given for the scheme in the first instance.

Addressing maritime stakeholders at the rescheduled 2016 World maritime Day conference, Usman said she was worried on what her predecessor saw before approving the scheme.

It would be recalled that the Senate Committee on Marine Transport had been on Oversight function tour of establishments in Lagos since this week and observed during a visit to the Deep Seaport site that the scheme was approved without train channel, which is key to shipping business.

The Committee led by its Chairman, Ahmad Sanni, said the current situation of road gridlock experienced in the Apapa axis is going to be exacerbated on delivery of the Lekki Deep Seaport, saying the peninsula had been mapped and planned by the state with no plan to build additional exit roads.

It would be recalled that the multi-billion dollar project was approved by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) in 2009, with a Chinese firm Tolaran Group as the promoter. Other partners in the project include the Lagos State Government and NPA.

Responding to the remarks of the lawmakers, Director, Lekki Deep Seaport, John Mastoroudes, said the company had discovered the shortfall in the master plan and is ready to inculcate the railway network in the project, if the Federal Government decided to include it in the plan.

Mastoroudes said the company is currently working with Lagos State government to improve the road network linking the seaport, which is located within the Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

However, the Port Manager, Stephen Herculum, said Lagos State government has promised to construct some roads around the port commencing from 2017. These include the expansion of the Lekki road, construction of Eleko road, a new link road and bridge that will be connecting Lekki expressway to Lagos (Victoria Island).

Design specifications show that the project is designed to be a mega seaport with three jetties with a 14 meter draft to be dredged to 19 meters progressively. It has a 300 meter dry bulk facility with capacities to import/export different products including solid minerals and petroleum products. Construction has commenced and the project is expected to be completed and commissioned by November/December 2019. He said the hydraulic studies which are in five stages are ongoing, while mobilisation of plants and equipment is underway onsite.