By Godwin Oritse
A SECTION of the Nigerian maritime industry stakeholders has called for the resignation of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi over his comments on the rehabilitation of Baro port being a waste of public funds.
In a statement the Executive Director, Maritime Advocacy Initiative, MAIN, Mr. Sesan Onileimo, said that it was shocking to watch Amaechi recently on the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, saying that the investment on the four river ports were a huge waste of tax payers monies.
He said: “Amaechi inherited four river ports, one of which was fully completed, while three were at different stages of completion, yet he threw his weight behind the projects and caused government to commit funds, only for him to turn round and say they were never meant to be viable.
“Our findings are that, prior to the appointment of Amaechi as the minister of transportation in 2015, the four ports, with the exception of Onitsha was all at different stages of abandonment.
“Onitsha River port was built under the administration of President Shehu Shagari in 1983 and since then, it has been lying fallow and completely underutilised until 2012 when it was rehabilitated and commissioned by former President Goodluck Jonathan. But, it has never been put to use since then.
“It is to the credit of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, under Mr. Amaechi that Baro was completed, and the duo of Lokoja and Oguta were still undergoing construction. Oguta is about 61per cent completed, while no one can ascertain the level of completion at the Lokoja port.
“As the superintending Minister whose portfolio includes water transportation, these river ports which the Minister openly declared as worthless are the ones known as Lokoja river port, Baro river port, Onitsha river port and Oguta river ports.”