31 October 2017 Sweetcrude, Lagos — THE Federal Government of Nigeria has contracted the security of the nation’s waterways to an Israeli security firm at the cost of $186million
Disclosing this in Lagos, at the World Maritime Day with the theme, “Connecting Ships, Ports and People,” Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said that the three year contract will also see the firm training members of the Nigerian military personnel on water security.
Amaechi also said that the intervention will save cost for the likes of Maersk Line, a shipping firm that spends between $15million and $18million annually on escorts.
According to him, “Security is a major challenge globally especially in the Gulf of Guinea. “There have been major concerns and developments to address the issues of maritime security along the Gulf of Guinea. Various initiatives, actions, programmes and centres/organisation have been developed and established to counter this insecurity.
“This Administration has seen the need for all relevant maritime agencies to synergise to improve efficiency in our ports.”
He added that the federal government has recorded some level of success on the concession of the Onitsha River port, “while others like Lokoja, Baro, Oguta River Ports are all in the pipeline and a priority for this administration.
The maintenance dredging of Ajaokuta to Onitsha channels of River Niger is a major step to boost the huge potentials in our Inland Waterways Transportation.”
“On the ever present challenge of vehicular movement in our ports especially the Apapa/Tincan Island ports, efforts have been made by the Federal Government to ease congestion and proffer solution to the ever persistent gridlock characterising the movement of goods and people to these ports.
The new policy of Government is that all new rail lines entering the coastal states of the country must be extended to the sea ports to make them more efficient, functional and viable.
“Accordingly, Government has extended the Lagos-Ibadan rail link from Ebute Metta to Apapa port complex and is currently rehabilitating the narrow gauge rail line to start evacuating goods from Tincan Island and Apapa ports. Equally the coastal rail (Lagos – Calabar) project has extension to Warri port, Onne deep sea port – Port Harcourt and Calabar Port and Export Processing zones – Calabar.
This will support the desired efficiency at the ports for loading and off loading of goods at the ports and also eliminate multiple handling and de-emphasised warehousing at the ports, “he stated.