By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo
LAGOS—GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to approve the operation of the Lekki and Badagry seaports in the state.
They stated that the approval has become imperative to reduce the present congestion experienced at Apapa and Tin can ports.
They said this when Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Port decongestion, Yusuf Yakub, of the House of Representatives, led other members of the committee on a courtesy visit to the State House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the additional ports are critical to the government’s vision of attracting additional Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, saying, “We are ready to ensure the actualization of the additional ports and that is why we are ready to provide the necessary assistance towards these.”
He said: “Lagos needs two other ports which would not only serve us but also build the national economy. We have initiated the development of Lekki Seaport, which has started. We are building another port in Badagry.
”But, we are still in discussion with the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, to approve because we have added five developers, financiers, and partners on the Badagry Port. If we can finish the construction of both seaports, it would free up the congestion in Apapa axis and create a new business hub for our people.
“We see that, as the state grows there is the need for these additional facilities to grow with it. We all know that these two ports have been in existence over the years. We believe that these additional ports will decongest existing ports.”
Besides, he said the setting up of a joint task-team by the federal and state governments to tackle gridlock along the routes leading to the ports was a step to prepare the ground for full decongestion of the facilities.
While admitting that there was the need for additional ports in the state, the Ad-hoc Committee on Port decongestion Mr. Yakub said: “There is a need for more ports. Even dry ports are important to any nation. A state like Lagos needs more ports and we need to get these ports working and others across the country.”
He said: “Smooth operation of the Lagos seaports is not only critical to sustaining our commerce in Lagos State, but it is also critical to the growth of the national economy. If in truth, we want to be serious about developing the non-oil sector to boost the economy we need to take proper action and decision on our seaports because they have great potential to completely transform the national economy.”
”More importantly, we need to look for a solution that will reflect on the two-port gateways of this nation, which are the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. It is clear that those ports are overwhelmed because the level of yearly turnout coming out of them has since doubled.”