As part of the efforts to boost operations in the nation’s seaports, the Federal Government plans the development of green fields with the construction of four deep sea ports. The states where the seaports will be developed include Lagos, which will get two seaports, Akwa Ibom and Ogun.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, who disclosed this in Abuja at a press briefing said that two deep seaports will be built at Lekki and Badagry in Lagos.
The other seaport will be constructed at Ondo/Ogun, while the fourth will be at Ibaka in Akwa Ibom state.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director of NPA, Engr Suleiman Omar, had said that the Lekki deep seaport project will commence early next year, while that of Akwa-Ibom will follow suit. The take-off date of the other deep seaports was not disclosed.
However, the Minister said that the ports terminals have been concessioned to both indigenous and foreign private terminal operators to improve efficiency, decrease cost of operation and accelerate development of the seaports.
He said that this will go a long way to situate Nigeria as a hub for international freight and trade in West and Central Africa.
Umar said that the Transport Ministry was determined to attain the vision 20:20:20 objectives by evolving a world class transportation system in Nigeria and to reposition the country as a hub in West and Central Africa.
He said that his mandate was to formulate and implement government policies for effective and efficient transport system in the country, as well as set guidelines on transportation for stakeholders, among others. (Thisday).
Customs Suspends 14 Officers
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the suspension of 14 officers over allegations of fraudulent release of vehicles and other goods in Tincan Island and Apapa Ports.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr. Dikko Inde Abdullahi, who disclosed this yesterday, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, said salaries of the affected officers have been stopped, adding that the move, according to him, was a continuation of efforts by the Customs to instill transparency into its operations.
Ten of the officers are of the ranks of deputy comptrollers and assistant controllers while the rest are in the inspector cadres.
The affected officers include Gidado, J. T., a deputy comptroller of Apapa Port; Odege, T. C., Ukonu, A. U., Shinkafi, M. F., Ibrahim, L. G., Lawal, B. K and Halilu, A. R, all assistant comptrollers in Tincan Island Port, Lagos. The rest are chief superintendent Waziri, B. F., Idris, M., Harry, N. B., Elemi, P. E., Aliyu, S. and Mohammed, A., all senior inspectors.
Also suspended was Dr. K. C. Ike of the Port Harcourt Medical Unit for absenteeism.
“At this stage of our efforts to transform the Service, we cannot afford to tolerate illegal conduct of the nature exhibited by those officers. I am disappointed that despite our efforts to turn-around the Service, some senior Officers are still found wanting,” he said. (Thisday).
FG Rolls Out Plan for Rail Network Service
The Federal Government has concluded plans to embark on massive rail projects, including linking of the nation’s seaports and airports with rail services.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, disclosed this on the occasion of the commemoration of the First 100 Days of President Goodluck Jonathan in office.
Umar said that part of the plan is to rehabilitate the old narrow gauge to run simultaneously with the newly constructed standard gauge.
He said that government has already completed the rehabilitation of the old narrow gauge covering 488 kilometres from Lagos – Jebba, expressing optimism that the phase 2 part of the project will be completed by the end of November this year.
According to him, “ this will make it possible to move from Lagos to Kano by rail and reduce the pressure on our roads and elongate the life span of our road network”.
Umar disclosed that part of the project includes the development of mass transit rail services spread across the six geo-political zones in the country.
He also added that intra-city transit services are currently operational in some cities, including Lagos, Kaduna, Ilorin and Kano.
The Minister also disclosed that the federal government is working on developing new rail lines with the involvement of private sector through Public Private Partnership arrangement.
According to him, the Ministry of Transport will ensure that the seaports and airports were linked with rail services as a way of improving transportation system in the country.
He also identified the East-West Coast line and high-speed linking covering Lagos-Ibadan- Benin-Onitsha-Enugu; Benin-Warri-Yenagoa-P’Harcourt-Uyo-Calabar; Lagos and Abuja, as top on the agenda of government.
Phase one of the modernisation project, the Minister said, entails the introduction of a standard gauge rail system to link the major cities in Nigeria.
“In this regard, I am happy to report that work has started on the first leg of the project which runs from Abuja to Kaduna. This project is being handled by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC).”, he said.
He said that the contractor has assured of completing the project within 36 months as contained in the contract agreement.
Umar also disclosed that the project employs over 2000 Nigerians and expected to employ 5000 Nigerians on completion.
Similarly, he disclosed that the Ajaokuta –Warri Rail Line , and construction of new stations was at advanced stage. (Thisday).