Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Buhari Olu of Warri

FG frustrating concession of Onitsha Port as Olu seeks Warri, Koko dredging

Ad 2
Ad 3

More than three years on in the life of the current administration, the federal government had maintained silence in one of its electioneering campaign promises in the South East which is putting the rehabilitated Onitsha River Port into use by simply concessioning the facility.

Former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had injected about N4.5bn to reposition the River Port after spending billion of naira to dredge River Niger from Warri to Baro port in Kogi State but lost election at the verge of completing the port concessioning process.

South East leaders of though and business community who had been using Port Harcourt and Lagos ports had constantly reminded the apex government on the need to flag off the use of the facility, but nothing has happened even as the complex is beginning to depreciate due to lack of use.

*Onitsha River Port was refurbished by former President Goodluck Jonathan but lost election at the verge of concessioning it. The present administration has left it to rot away without putting it to use.

During his maiden meeting with South East business community when he visited Anambra State last year, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo assured that on his return to Abuja, processes for the completion of the concessioning of Onitsha River Port will be concluded.

More than five months on, nothing has happened.

However, only last week, the Olu of Warri, His Majesty Ogiame Ikenwole, took the quest for the dredging of Warri and Koko seaports to the presidency, insisting that they remain critical to sustaining the economic viability of Delta state.

Ikenwole who led a delegation including the immediate past governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, decried the continuous neglect of both ports, just as he noted that they had the capacity of not just ending restiveness but providing jobs for over 300,000 youths in the region.

Business Hilights recalls that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had stated that the federal government would require about $16 billion to effect dredging works at Warri and Bonny seaports in Delta and Rivers state respectively.

Other issues of regional and state development importance raised by the monarch include the actualization of the planned gas industrial park (gas city) valued at $20 billion, through a Public-Private Partnership model.

Known as the Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP), Ogidigben, and envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries, the project will cover 2,700 hectares of land with fertilizer, methanol, petrochemicals and aluminium plants located in the park that has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the Federal Government.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the project was done by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan at the cost of $16 billion.

The gas city initiative, involves the Federal government, petroleum ministry and the state government. The site located at the swampy community of Igidigbien was reclaimed through excavation and sand filling before the groundbreaking event.

The monarch told newsmen that the people of the region and Delta State in particular want the ports to be activated so that they can start working, and that will mop up a lot of youths from the streets. When the ports were working there was no restiveness in the area.

He said “Apart from that there is also the gas city, it is a fantastic project. The last president did the ground breaking before he left but since then nothing has been happening. We want the federal government to hasten action on it because that will mop up over 300,000 unemployed youths from the streets. So when all of our youths are engaged the restiveness will be minimized.”

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.