Amaechi task Lekki Deep Seaport Contractors on deadline, commends NPA
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has commended the pace of work at the Lekki deep seaport even as he applauded the contractors for upping the pace of work progress and done so far; urged them to do more in order to meet the completion deadline.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the Lekki deep seaport, weekend, he said, “The last time we came, there was no Quay wall, just the breakwaters. But today there’s visible improvement. It doesn’t mean that you have delivered, it simply means that if you set your mind on something, you will achieve it”, he told the contractors.
“The last time we came, your chairman said it wasn’t possible, and I told him wait and see, if it’s not possible, then you know that I am not Minister for Transport. We are supposed to commission by September which is the old agreement, but if you double your efforts on this job we can commission by July.
“If you remember the Lagos-Ibadan rail, the Nigerian engineers shook their heads, the Chinese shook their heads, I insisted that if I come back and its not working, we won’t pay the Chinese, but when I came, they were ready.
“So if you try it between June, July, August, it would be better. You get to finish with all the procedures that the government requires. And the only way to do it is to finish the project. The Quay wall must be completed, the cranes, and the buildings; we get the President here, commission it, then if there is anything left you need to seek approval for, I can take it to the President for consideration, because it would be an embarrassment to government if what you commission is not working.”
According to a statement made available by the GM NPA Corporate and Strategic Communications, Nasiru Ibrahim, the Minister while also commending the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for its efficient supervision and monitoring, the minister advised full automation of the Lekki Deep Seaport operations to avoid a replay of the Apapa ugly scenario.
“Whatever you do, you must create a barrier so that as you walk into customs, you have no access to any other part of the port, once you walk in you walk out. And thankfully you’re automating the seaport. You don’t need to do physical documentation.
“All documentations should be done online. Some people will still not believe that the documentation online will work, so they will continue to come here. Restrict movement into these areas by making sure there is a fence between Customs and the terminal area,” Amaechi said.
Chief Technical Officer, Lekki Port LFTZ, Steven Heukelom explained that, “explained that construction works on the project is on course and as scheduled. He noted that the dredging and reclamation works had reached 89.93% completion, Quay Wall 85.65% completion, Breakwater 79.66% completion, landslide infrastructure development 67.82% completion, thus bringing total works carried out on the project to approximately 80% completion.”
He also explained that work has commenced on the marine services jetty, which the NPA will use to carry out their marine services obligation, even as he commended the Authority’s Acting managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko for support and partnership in preparing the port to begin operations.
Bello-Koko reaffirmed the authority’s readiess to provide marine services for port operations and disclosed that NPA is procuring tug boats and other necessary infrastructure for the smooth takeoff of the port operations.
On his part, the Chief Operating Officer, Lekki Port LFTZ, Laurence Smith, thanked the Minister for commending their work so far, and appealed to the government for support in the construction of access roads.
“The coastal roads and the new 7th axial Road are key for the evacuation of goods from the Lekki axis. It is critical for the road works to be completed before commencement of port operations for ease of access to customers and stakeholders,” Smith said.
Responding, Amaechi reiterated the need for speedy completion of the Port facility, to be able to access further approvals of requests made, even as he instructed the Director Railway, Ministry of Transportation to conduct a study on the possibility of linking the Lekki port to Lagos-Ibadan with railway.
During the tour of the port, the company highlighted that a truck parking area for 300 trucks is being provided for, to avoid haphazard parking of trucks or parking on the road when the Port goes fully operational.
At the Terminal area, the Customs building is being expanded into a full fledged inspection area for proper inspection before trucks are allowed to evacuate the area. There’s also an area for impounded goods.
Construction is ongoing for the reef of containers, erection of Light masts which will be 25metres high, so the whole area will be fully lit 24hrs daily. Dredging and reclamation work is at 90 per cent completion, while the Lekki free port terminal has begun recruitment for its operations.