N2.5bn Baro River port rots away one year after completion

Port not accessible by road —NIWA

Investigations have revealed that the N2.5 billion Baro River port awarded under the administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is currently lying waste due to lack of utilisation by port users despite it completion more than a year ago. This is even as the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has stated that the Baro River port has not been put to use due to lack of access roads linking the port.

According to findings, the Baro River port in Niger State, awarded in 2011/12  at a cost of N2,563,499,248.00 by the Federal Executive Council to Messrs CGGC Global Projects Ltd has been completed but is gradually becoming a waste due to non-utilisation by port users.

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune, a Master Marina who declined to have his name in print stated that the infrastructure built with tax payers money is gradually looking like a shadow of its self due to abandonment and neglect.

According to him, “If you go to the Baro River port now, you will not meet anybody there. The facility has abandoned. Reptiles have taken over the terminals. It is a ghost town cut off from this world with no activity taken place there.

“It is a pity that when government was building that port, no provision was made to dualise the road link the port. Currently, the Baro River port is not accessible by road. You cannot get there by land except you are ready to navigate the horrendous roads and bush paths that lead there.

“Even if you decide to go there through the very bad road, God help you if you don’t get attacked by wild animals from the bushes surrounding that route.

“For government to have spent about N2.5 billion building that facility without thinking of how to link it by road sums up the clueless state of our leaders. Nothing is happening there as I speak.

“You can only access the port by water. No economic activity is going on there. Does this not amount to a waste of public funds? Soon monkeys and gorillas from the neighbouring bushes will turn the port to a permanent place of abode if it remains idle. Already, reptiles like snakes already hibernate there, seeking shelter.

“It is only in this part of the world we don’t plan ahead before we start a project. The contractors have finished their job and have returned back to their country, but the facility is laying waste there in Baro all because of no access roads.”

When contacted on the issue, the Spokesman of NIWA, Tayo Fadile confirmed that the Baro River port is not been used due to lack of access roads linking the port.

In his words, “the Baro River port is completed, but there is no access road linking the port. Is it NIWA that will go and do the access road?

“We have written the Ministry of Works and the Niger State Government, informing them that there is no road leading to the Baro River port, but nothing has been done. Is it the responsibility of NIWA to construct roads?

“We have done our job by building a port in Baro. What is remaining for us is the cargo handling equipment which I learnt is already in the 2016 budget of NIWA. So hopefully, that will be done, but even at that, how are people going to access this port? Baro port can only be accessed by water because there are no roads.

“Baro River port is ready more than a year ago but there are no roads to get to the port. It is not the responsibility of NIWA to construct roads.”