……Benin River Port to ease Apapa congestion – Obaseki
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh and the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki have expressed willingness to partner to make the Benin River Port project a reality.
Jamoh also restated the Agency’s commitment to human capacity development as the basic catalyst to grow the maritime sector in Nigeria.
The Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, Osagie Edward who disclosed this in a statement hinted that the DG stated this on Monday in Benin City when he led a team from the Agency on a courtesy visit to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in the government house. The Edo State Governor said the Benin River Port project is critical and strategic to Nigeria’s economy, noting that the State Government is willing to partner with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) to bring the project to reality.
He said Edo State is very unique in its ecology. “Edo state is a nexus for Nigeria hence the strategic role the Benin River port would play in the transportation of goods to other parts of the country. You can connect the east and west from Edo within two hours so that means in six hours goods from Apapa in Lagos will be everywhere in the country.”
“We are locating this port in a place that is perhaps Nigeria’s largest and richest onshore gas reserve. You can imagine that this energy exists to drive whatever amount of industrialization that needs to be.”
While commending NIMASA Management for the blue economy initiative, Governor Obaseki stated that the economy of Nigeria must be diversified.
Earlier, NIMASA DG, Dr. Jamoh acknowledged that the Benin River Port project is a testament that Edo understands the benefits of shipping and expressed readiness to ensure the state explores the opportunities of the blue economy.
He noted that the Agency was ready to sponsor indigenes of the State who are below 25 years of age to Greece on fully-funded scholarship to study Maritime related courses. The NIMASA DG stressed the fact that human and infrastructural capacity development is key to the growth of the maritime industry in Nigeria. He noted that the Agency’s drive to develop the blue economy in partnership with littoral states in the country is aimed at achieving a diversified economy for the country.
“Shipping is the alternative to oil and the shipping sector in Nigeria can produce three quarter of the nation’s earnings from the oil sector.
To achieve this, we at NIMASA are engaging the littoral states in Nigeria to develop strategies that would lead to maximizing the potentials of the sector within the next ten years when countries are targeting to end the use of fossil fuel”.
He commended the Edo State Government on the Benin River Port project, which he said, would be a revenue booster for the state as he identified Kano, Plateau and Gombe states as states that have invested hugely in Inland Dry Port development, despite not being littoral states.