OrderPaperToday – A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo), has lamented the neglect of the Onitsha inland port by the Federal Government.
Mr. Nwawuba also urged government to pay attention to the dredging and establishment of land ports in coastal areas in order to boost the maritime sector and thereby stimulate economic productivity of the country.
Speaking in a chat with OrderPaperNG, the lawmaker queried why the Onitsha inland port has not being fully completed and put to use several years after it was concessioned.
He spoke on the sidelines of a hearing by the House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways chaired by Patrick Asadu (PDP, Enugu).
The lawmaker argued that the maritime industry is huge and that if given due attention it is capable of turning the fortunes of the country around.
He said: “The maritime sector in Nigeria is seven times as large as the oil sector and so we believe it is capable of contributing not just to the States but the federal government coffers if we do the needful.
“The Onitsha Inland Port is long overdue; a lot can be achieved if we decongest our ports in Lagos and other parts of the country to ease commercial activities especially in the South Eastern region which is solely into trading. We can look at what we can do to make it faster but we can do that within the ambits of the law.”
According to Mr. Nwawuba, the committee had to meet despite the recess to wrap some things off before the life of the 8th assembly comes to an end.
“The life of this assembly is barely six months away and that is why we have decided to cut short our holidays to look at some of the motions referred to our committee which bothers on alleged financial irregularities, concessionairings and agreements entered into between Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and some other concessionaires like Guarantee Minimum Tunnage, Dredging and Land Imports, Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarding, etc”.
He further explained that two motions out of the seven motions that were referred to the committee have been deliberated upon which are; “call to investigate the abandonment of Onitsha Inland port” and ” alleged disposal/occupation of lands belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority.
He however refused to comment on findings as regards the investigation so far, that it is work in progress and that the committee would be fair and transparent to all parties involved.