Toju Vincent 12 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Minna – The Baro Port in Niger State is now about 95 per cent completed, managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Hajia Inna Ciroma, has said.
But the managing director is worried that despite the impressive level of work on the port, lack of access road to the port may jeopardise its eventual take off and efficiency.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Niger State Government House in Minna, Ciroma appealed to Governor Babangida Aliyu to intervene by encouraging the Ministry of Transport to embark on construction of access road to the facility.
Without good roads, according to the NIWA boss, the port would not be as effective and efficient as planned by the Federal Government.
“My prayer has to do with the deplorable road networks leading to Baro River port as the port is nearing completion. In fact the Baro River port has literally been completed but unfortunately, there are no good access roads leading to the port,” Ciroma told the governor.
She continued: “We plead with his Excellency to use his good office to encourage the Honourable Minister of Works to list this very important road in the 2014/2015 Appropriation because without a good access road to the port, there will be no way the port will be effective in its operation.
“Finally, we have just commissioned the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State. Baro Port in Niger State is next in line and it will be the very first river port to be completed in Northern Nigeria and may end up being the flagship port for the whole of northern part of Nigeria”.
Assuring that her agency was playing its role with a view to assisting the relevant agencies in the rehabilitation of the access road leading to the port, the NIWA boss said: “We are discussing with other government agencies to ensure that the road is rehabilitated. There is actually a road, it is just that it is in a very bad state and if we have no good access road the effort of the Federal Government on the port will be a waste”.
She disclosed that the essence of the port is to transship goods from Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt, bring them to the hinterland and carry them to the northern part of the country.
Ciroma further disclosed that the port will be commissioned before the end of the first quarter of 2015, adding that the rehabilitation of the road could be carried out simultaneously with the construction work currently going on at the port.