The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has reiterated the pledge of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the transportation sector into a major revenue earner, while noting that work will soon commence on the Bonny Deep Seaport construction site.
Amaechi made this assertion on Sunday via a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transport, Mr Eric Ojiekwe.
The Minister had visited the project to ensure all hitches that could impede are cleared.
Amaechi said that while the South-East part of the Island was also viable, the most feasible might be the area to the West in Finima, as it would require less dredging.
“The experts have said it will take only 500 metres of dredging at this point to get to 17metres draught which is our target for the depth of the seaport.
”The moment you reclaim 500metres into the ocean, you get to 17metres draught. You don’t need further dredging. While on the other end, you need 1.16kms dredging to get to the water.
”It will be more expensive to dredge 1.16km than to build a rail line to this place. We can do the cost analysis and come to a decision,” he said.
The Minister added that the selection of the area, when finally decided upon would ensure that NNPC pipes would not be tampered with or moved for the rail lines extending to the Seaport to be laid.
“It will also be easier to pay compensations here and take the rail through this area instead of running it through the other end where there are pipes.
”And, compensation will be paid on properties, not on land. If the land is not enough, the Federal Government would acquire more for the expansion.”
Adding his voice, the Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Koko; also disclosed that the essence of the event was to reconfirm the right location for the port; adding that final studies would be made and conclusions reached.
”The other location had pipes, so we believe that this one will be perfect. It has a natural draft of about 17 meters.
“The port which will have a capacity of about 500,000 TEUs on completion is a necessary infrastructure for Nigeria.
”Nigeria has over 823 km of coastline and we have always been saying; that the idea of building deep seaports will bring more economic value to the country.
”And, Nigeria will eventually become a maritime hub in Africa or the West African sub-region,” he said.