The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says the Baro River port will soon commence full operations as a concessionaire has been engaged and is set to construct access roads to the port.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari on Jnauary 19, 2019, commissioned the Baro River port in Niger State in what the administration counted as one of its major achievements.
Managing Director, NIWA, George Moghalu disclosed this on Thursday, at a forum organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), in Badagry, Lagos.
Moghalu who was represented by the acting General Manager ,Legal Service, NIWA, Nasiru Biyakare said “the Baro port now has concessionaire who has already taken possession of the facility .”
The NIWA boss further disclosed that the concessionaire, who he however, did not name, has already applied to the government to be permitted to address the road infrastructure decay.
According to Moghalu, the Baro port suffered some setbacks after the commissioning in 2019, due to the deplorable access roads to the facility.
He further disclosed that the independent concessionaire has agreed to take over the project from the major road down to the port for optimal utilisation.
“As I speak with you now we have an independent concessionaire who applied to take over the port and then construct the road so that it can start operations.
“Apart from that, the federal government is also looking at how the road will link Baro to Abuja.” He said. For the Onitsha river port, Moghalu stated that the facility is already in full operation.
In his words, “NIWA offers a very critical role in the nation’s maritime industry through the execution of its mandate of developing the inland waterways of Nigeria and its regulations nationwide.”
On the conflict between NIWA and the Lagos state government on waterways operation, he noted that the case is currently at the supreme court.
According to him, judgment will soon be passed to ascertain proper definition for the exclusive operational scope of the brown waters.
He also maintained that both the Lagos State Waterways Authority LASWA and NIWA have no dispute as both agencies are carrying out their responsibilities on the waterways.
Moghalu explained that the agency is carrying out its operations in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the exclusive and concurrent list put in place by the National Assembly.
He further noted that “the function of NIWA are mainly captured in section 2, 8, 9 and 28 of the NIWA Act Cap N47 LFN 2004.”