By Sunny A. David, Onitsha
The new Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Senator Olorunimbe Mamorah has lamented the degree of rot to machineries and equipment at the Onitsha River Port.
He made the remarks during his official working visit to the port.
He recalled that the port, which was built in the administration of former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari, had since then been left uncared for which caused most of the installations, especially the machinery and equipment to rot away.
His words: “Onitsha is a commercial city and highest in the whole of Africa. It shows the level of industry. I am here at the Onitsha River Port to have on the spot assessment of the situation at NIWA Onitsha. From Alhaji Shehu Shagari till now it is a long time.
“I was made to understand that it was refurbished in 2012 but from 2012 till now, nothing has happened much till now as par full utilisation of the port. It is not a good thing for us and the country.”
The good thing there is that President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is rectifying the problem within the confined of the law. He is trying to revamp the place and it is reaching the final stage of concession. It is a pity that a lot has been done there, the equipment have been laying waste, ware houses unused.
We have a lot of things that are to be put to use but are not being used. Even the machineries have been lying fallow for a long time.
This is why we want to ensure this place takes off again. There are lots of expectations. I doubt if we have this kind of port in Nigeria. A port that has three levels, lower, middle and top levels. I am aware that of the cargo that comes into Lagos, about 30 per cent of them stay in Lagos while the rest comes to Onitsha.
On the alleged encroachment on NIWA’s property, the MD reiterated that “we will not close our eyes and allow anybody to take over NIWA land.
“If anybody has right of ownership of the property let him come and show the documents in support of the claim. I will not be bordered about the amount of black mail and intimidation they may use as long as what we are doing is on our own interest”, he further stated.