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Reps probe abandoned Onitsha Inland Port



The House of Representatives is not happy with the Nigerian Inland Waterways authority for abandoning the Onitsha inland port in South East commercial city.

The port project had been completed since 2013, but abandoned.

The lawmakers during an investigative hearing on the abandonment of the port, questioned the need for Niger River, on which government has already spent billions of naira without any benefit.

The committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways advised the Nigeria inland waterways authority to exercise caution in its resolve to concession the Port.

During the investigative hearing, which was expected to last for three days, the committee will also consider issues surrounding the abandonment of dredging and establishment of land ports at Idah and Jamata in Kogi state.

INLAND Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL), operators of Kaduna Inland Dry Port (KIDP), had expressed confidence and competence to run the Onitsha River Port.

The Managing Director of ICNL,  Mr. Yusuf Ismail, said that the company had tendered to take over the Port under concession agreement, assuring it has confidence that the company had what it takes to operate the port.

Mr. Ismail also said that as the first successful ICD operator in Nigeria, other operators of ICDs in all the geo-political zones of Nigeria have been coming to his company for advice on how to run ICD projects.

According to him, one of the companies is the Edo Inland Container Depot. ``We participated in the bidding for concession of Onitsha River Port which we are waiting for the result.

``So any time from now the Federal Government will announce the winner. If we are lucky to win it, we are going to run the Onitsha River port too. What is the difference between the seaport and the dry port?”

 “If government wants it functional, they will call investors to come and invest in them and give them the guidelines. They should put policies in place and there should be a regulatory body that will make sure it works. So that is how it is going to work.

“Everything lies in government hands. Even the port we are looking at here in Apapa, Tin-Can and everywhere; if government wants it to work, it will work.’’