Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, Managing Director, NIWA

By FRANCIS EZEM                                                                                                                      

Strong indications emerged at the weekend that the deplorable state of the access roads to the Baro River Ports Complex located in Niger State and built at the cost of over N3.5million may mar the completion and eventual takeoff of the project if urgent measures were not taken to address the problem.

Recall that construction works at port by the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA have since been completed two years ago and it is expected that when fully operational, the port will create more than 2000 job for the teaming youths in addition to boosting not only the economy of Niger State but also that of the country as a whole.

But it was however gathered that the access road leading to the River Port from the Gegu Express Way in Kogi State is in a terrible state of disrepair, thus making movement almost impossible to move men and materials, a development that needs Federal Government’s urgent intervention to rehabilitate the road in order to realise the objectives of the project.

Managing Director of First Index Nigeria Limited, Mr. Opeyemi Olabanji, the contractor handling the installation of the cargo handling equipment at the river port, who confirmed this this development in an interview, explained that movement of men and materials has become serious challenge to the company due to the deplorable state of the roads.

“We are going through serious challenges in moving our men and materials to the port because of the deplorable condition of the access road. We cannot move our cranes and other cargoes to the port, you know that cargo handling equipment are very heavy and the trucks carrying the equipment cannot pass through the bad road.  We hope that the Federal Government will see the need to urgently fix the road in the interest of the nation’s economy”, Olabanji said.

He however, commended the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA for the palliative measures it has been putting in place to make sure that the equipment arrives at the River Port but emphasised the need for a lasting solution to the deplorable condition of the road, which will also enhance the efficiency of the port when fully operational.

It was also gathered that some media practitioners recently went on a fact-finding visit to Baro River Port but could not get to the port due to the deplorable nature of the access road.

Experts describe the Baro River Port as the flagship port of the northern part of the country, which ironically cannot function as it is now due to the deplorable state of the access roads, which they describe as a national embarrassment. This is especially given the huge sums of tax payers’ money sunk into the project as well as the economic potential of the project not only to the northern region but also the nation as a whole.