A Group known as Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative has called for immediate resignation of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
The Group was reacting to the statement the Minister made over four river ports, located in Anambra, Imo, Kogi and Niger states.
The Minister had in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority described the construction of river ports across the country as a waste of public funds, stressing that they were not viable projects, He said if the River Niger was not dredged, no vessel would be able to sail to Baro port.
He was quoted as saying, “I had this conversation with my friend, Senator Goje, about the viability of the river ports that we have including Onitsha, Baro, Lokoja and Oguta river ports and I felt that it was a waste of funds.
“The reason is that for you to have those river ports functional, you must have to dredge River Niger. For now, even if you dredge, it is still 2.5 to three metre draft, which determines the vessel that can go there and the minimum you can have is a six-metre vessel. There is absolutely no vessel that will come in there at 2.5 to 3 metres draft.
“They wanted the port constructed; so we completed it. My responsibility is to construct a Baro port and I have constructed it. As Minister, I did engage the public that these are the problems we will face when we finish this Baro port, “First Nigeria does not produce anything in the first place; so what are you going to transport? If we make the Apapa seaport very efficient, then we don’t even have enough cargo.”
A statement signed by the Executive Director of MAIN, Sesan Onileimo, and sent to our correspondent asked the minister to resign for wasting revenue on a project he knew was not feasible.
Part of the statement read, “We call on the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to resign for encouraging revenue wastage on the nation’s river ports, “By his admission, the ports are white elephants that were not meant to serve the nation’s interest but the parochial and selfish interest of a few politicians.
“We also call on the National Assembly to probe the state of affairs at the four ports. For Baro, the lawmakers should find out why it has remained useless two years after it was commissioned.