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Senate urged presidency to complete Baro Port Project of Lower Niger

THE Senate has urged the federal government to complete Baro Port Project of the Lower River Niger in order to cause rapid socio-economic growth of the country.

Bima Mohammad Enag, Senator representing Niger South District made this call during the plenary session on Tuesday.

Senator Ahmed Sani Musa and Senator Adamu Aliero supported the motion, stating the economic significance of the port to Nigeria, as that which would generate employment for the citizenry, advance the economic prosperity and that of a neighbouring country like the Niger Republic.

The project was started during the administration of the late President Musa Yar’Adua.

The Senate urged the federal government to make funds available to contractors for final completion, urging the government to transfer the roads project to Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) for better funding and execution.

In addition, the lawmakers asked that the rehabilitation of the Narrow Guage Railway in Baro be facilitated, to ensure the rapid socio-economic growth of Nigeria.

They also called for continuous dredging and maintenance of the Rivers Niger and Benue by National Inland Waterways Authorities (NIWA) to ensure navigability, and asked that the maintenance be extended to the lower River Niger and other affected rivers yet to be dredged.

“Mandate the Senate Committees on Maritime Transport, Public Procurement and Works to investigate NIWA activities in respect of Baro Port and make adequate recommendations to facilitate early completion.

“That the Senate engage with the Executive arm of government on the importance of the completion of the dredging of the River Niger; and urge the Federal Government to extend the dredging of the River Niger to Yauri, Kebbi State,” the Senate demanded.

The Baro Port, situated in Agaie Local Government Area(LGA) in Niger State, was first approved in 2011/12 during the Yar’adua administration at the cost of 5.8 billion and was awarded to a Chinese firm CGCC Project Limited at the time.

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The port, equipped with a quay length of 150 meters, cargo stacking yard of 7,000 square meters, a transit shed of 3, 600 square meters and an estimated capacity of 5,000 TEU at a time, was intended to create 2000 jobs directly or indirectly to the citizenry.

However, since the commissioning of the port in December by President Muhammadu Buhari, Daily Trust reported that non-release of the funds had stalled the completion of the project as at September 2019.

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