By Ignatius Ushie
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that the agreement reached to have Lekki Deep Sea project completed and open for commercial activities in second quarter of 2022 remains sacrosanct and non-negotiable.
The Minister made this known during a meeting between the Federal Ministry of Transportation, its agencies, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, handlers of the Deep Sea project in Lekki, Lagos State.
Amaechi who was obviously not pleased with the shift of completion date by Lekki Port management to fourth quarter of 2022 said: “There was an agreement that by second quarter of 2022, you’ll commence commercial activities and you said, yes, in the presence of the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo. So whatever work plan you have, reverse it now and go back to the agreement.”
On the call by the Chairman that the Lekki Port be captured under the current rail system being embarked on by the Federal Government, the Minister said “when we went to the seaport in the United Kingdom, there was no railway, it was just road, so nothing that says that we must do a rail track to this place. Whenever there’s another government and they have money, they can proceed with that sector”.
Earlier, the Chairman, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Abiodun Dabiri, briefed the Minister and his entourage on the status of construction of the Port According to him, the entire port construction is now at 55.48% completion.
Speaking further on breakdown of the status of the components of the port, Dabiri disclosed that dredging and reclamation has reached 61.11%, Quay Wall 50.39%, Breakwater 67.49% while the landside infrastructure development has reached 33.70% completion.
He further disclosed that upon completion, Lekki Port would be a world-class Port operating with best-in-class equipment to ensure seamless operations and would comply with global environmental protection standards. He added that Lekki Port would be the deepest seaport in the sub-Saharan African region and will serve as a tran-shipment hub for the region.
Also speaking, the Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko informed that the agency has commenced the process of acquiring all necessary marine equipment required for the smooth take-off of the project.
Thereafter, the Minister was taken on tour of the Lekki Port in the company of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Director, Maritime Services, Sulieman Auwal, Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr Emmanuel Jime and the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Jamoh among others,
The Lekki Deep Sea project which was flagged off in 2018 has 1600 workers of which 300 are expatriates with the rest mostly from the host communities.