By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
NNEWI—THE Federal Government has described the Onitsha River Port as an untapped gold mine and a sub sector all efforts should be geared towards revitalizing to make it functional.
It also said that the port is unique and exceptional from others in the country because of its three levels that goods can be brought in, namely: lower, middle and top levels which also makes it a great and wonderful port.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Sen Olorunimbe Mamora, during his maiden visit to Onitsha Area office of NIWA.
Mamora who was accompanied to Onitsha by some senior officials of NIWA from Lokoja, Kogi State, during the visit also described the transportation aspect of the NIWA operations as humongous in terms of gains accrueable from its operation.
Decades of comatose
He regretted that Onitsha River Port has been in existence since the administration of former President Shehu Shagari, yet it is not operational.
“Onitsha River Port was refurbished in 2012 but since that time till now, nothing has happened in terms of full utilisation and that is not good news for us as a country, but the good news there is that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to rectify, amend and do things differently within the ambit of the change mantra of this administration.
“I’m aware that many of the bulk of the cargoes that come into Lagos port leave Lagos for Onitsha,” he said.
am sure less than 20 per cent of cargoes stay in Lagos the remaining come to Onitsha through the roads and it is aburden to the roads.
“The Federal government is working assiduously to take off the burden off the roadside we can have them go through the waterways, and it is as slow ensuring the navigability of the waterways, the s as getting and the security of the waterways because those who want their goods shipped from Lagos to Onitsha port want them safe and not subjected to piracy and pilfering.
…bemoans rot of equipment
“We have gone round the premises of NIWA Onitsha, but it is a pity, the level rot and decay in equipment and machinaries are much, we have equipment that have been lying here for a long time, the warehouse that is not in use and a lot of things that are supposed to be in use that are not being used, this us why we need to ensure that this place takes off to meet some expectations.”
Earlier in her welcome address, Area Manager of NIWA, Onitsha, Mrs. Uche Amadi said the Area Office generated the sum of N46.4 million as at October 31, 2018.
She said the Area Office in a bid to boost and divetsify her revenue base is reaching out for Public, Private Partnership, PPP, to develop and industralise her floodable plains and right of way, just as it is currently consulting with intrested private individuals to reclaim vast areas for estate development, especially, the Garden City project in Alabama, Delta State.
She said they are also engaged in utilization of island along the water ways for reception, agriculture and cattle ranching, just as it channelling and reclaiming swamps in Onitsha, particularly, Nwangene River.
Amadi said that “given the necessary work tools, they will do better than what they are doing, and therefore, promised that if they are working 75 per cent, they will work 100 per cent, but however, appealled to the Federal Government to provide them with operational vehicles.