By Lucy Ogalue/Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said work will soon start on the Bonny Deep Seaport.
Amaechi, in a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transport, Mr Eric Ojiekwe, disclosed this when he visited the proposed site for the project.
The minister noted that in choosing the site, considerations must be made towards cost reduction and ease in paying compensations.
He said that while the South East part of the Island was also viable, the most feasible might be the area to the West in Finima, as it would require less dredging.
“The experts have said it will take only 500 metres of dredging at this point to get to 17metres draught which is our target for the depth of the seaport.
”The moment you reclaim 500metres into the ocean, you get to 17metres draught. You don’t need further dredging. While on the other end, you need 1.16kms dredging to get to the water.
”It will be more expensive to dredge 1.16km than to build rail line to this place. We can do the cost analysis and come to a decision,” he said.
Amaechi also said selection of the area, when finally decided upon would ensure that NNPC pipes would not be tampered with or moved for the rail lines extending to the Seaport to be laid.
“It will also be easier to pay compensations here and take the rail through this area instead of running it through the other end where there are pipes.
”And, compensation will be paid on properties, not on land. If the land is not enough, the Federal Government would acquire more for the expansion.
The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Koko, said the essence of the event was to reconfirm the right location for the port, adding that final studies would be made and conclusions reached.
”The other location had pipes, so we believe that this one will be perfect. It has a natural draft of about 17 meters.
“The port which will have a capacity of about 500,000 TEUs on completion is a necessary infrastructure for Nigeria.
”Nigeria has over 823 km of coastline and we have always been saying that the idea of building deep seaports will bring more economic value to the country.
”And, Nigeria will eventually become a maritime hub in Africa or the West African sub-region,” he said.
Koko also said that construction would kick off within the year and run concurrently with the construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line which also extends to the Bonny Deep Seaport.
Amaechi made the visit in company of the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Magdalene Ajani, and experts from the Ministry of Transportation, the NPA and the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd. (CCECC). (NAN) (nannews.ng)