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FG may concession N9.4bn Baro, Oguta, Lokoja River Ports 

NIWA MD, Dr George Moghalu

Eyewitness reporter

After successfully concessioning the Onitsha River Ports, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said it has received several proposals for the concession of the N9.4billion Oguta, Baro and Lokoja River Ports.

While the Baro river port has been successfully completed and concessioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Oguta and Lokoja River ports are still undergoing construction.

Recall that while the Baro port was built for N2.6billion, Oguta and Lokoja were built for N2.7billon and N4.1billion respectively.

However, speaking on the current state of the river ports across the country, the Managing Director, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, said the proposal for concessions are being given consideration.

According to him, while private sector operators manage business better, they also have enough funds to complete the construction of the river ports.

He said, “We have received proposals for those who want us to concession Oguta and Lokoja river ports as it is undergoing construction and we are giving them serious consideration because the private sector manages business better.

“If we are able to concession Oguta, and Lokoja river ports, we may not have resources to complete the ports but if we have private sector partners who are ready to work with us, complete the construction, take them over, run them successfully, we will be happy.”

“We encourage concessioning and that’s why we have Onitsha River Port as our poster boy because we have successfully concessioned Onitsha and what that means is that we can concession others and the private sector are in charge of activities there. That will be a template to guide us.”

The MD, however, stated that the challenge of an access road that has made the Baro river ports non-functional since it was commissioned by the President in 2019 is receiving government attention.

According to him, the federal government has approved the rehabilitation of the rail line while the state government approved the construction of the dilapidated road leading to the port.

He said, “Baro is a world-class port and it has been completed. The challenge we have is not about the port but the access road to the port. Am happy to tell you that the federal government is starting a road project and I engaged the Niger state government where they assured that they will fix the road.

“Also, FG has approved a rail project from Baro to Kano and work is about to start on it. It’s a major milestone for the port because Baro in the precolonial days has a port and when one goes there, we will see relics of the offices of GB Oliver.

” At the port, there was a rail line, so what is needed is to rehabilitate the rail line because we need multi-modal means of transportation to be able to use the port effectively.

“If cargoes come to the port, they should be able to be discharged and will either move by rail or water depending on where the cargoes are going.

“Am sure that the project is on course and as regards to rail and road, in no distant future, the access to Baro river ports will be sorted and resolved,” he assured.

He stated that if the river ports are successfully concessioned, the current pressure on the roads will be reduced, thereby, increasing the lifespan of the road.

Moghalu stated that bulk cargoes are moved either by water or rail, saying Nigeria’s case can’t be different in moving heavy cargoes.

“We want to reduce the pressure on our roads. Our roads are not designed to carry the weight they are carrying.

” This is a statement of fact and there is no way our infrastructure will last. For example, if five million containers are going to the east per annum, what that translates to is that 10 million trailers will be on our roads.
“Five million taking the consignments to their destinations and five million taking the empties back. Our roads cannot carry such pressure. So anything we can do to relieve such pressure, we are going to do it.

“In civilized societies, bulk cargoes are moved either by water or rail, and ours can’t be different. Those who started it and still doing it must have a reason; there is something they saw that made them adopt the water mode of transport. We will continue to pursue our target until we fully realise it.”

Speaking on the Lagos-Onitsha barge initiatives, the NIWA MD, said he was engaging the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce and Imoorters’ association.

He said, “on the Lagos-Onitsha route, we have done our test runs, and we will continue working on it because we haven’t gotten to where we want to be.

“One thing you need to know is that it is the owner of the cargo that determines where his cargo is going and how it gets there; you cannot mandate it by law.

“So what we’ve been doing is to engage several bodies, like the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce and Importers Association of Nigeria to have buy-in, and we’ve been receiving favourable responses.

“I also recently met with the barge operators to offer them quality insurance on both the barges and cargo, as this was one of the issues raised by the importers themselves because they want to secure their goods.

“They said they don’t want a situation where their goods are gambled with; where goods all the way from China or Europe get to Nigeria and drop off on our waterways and they begin to tell them stories.

“We discussed with the barge operators for us to have an understanding that we want a reasonable insurance cover for every cargo that will go on the inland waterway, and also for the vessels themselves to be fully insured so that we can give protection to the importer. The project is a prime one for us because we want to decongest our ports.”

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Freight Monitor

ANLCA cracks

Emenike Nwekeoji , ANLCA President
–ASECO chair resigns, cites internal pressure, backbiting, distrust
— insurrection at MMIA chapter as coup against chairman foiled 
The Eyewitness Reporter
Six months after the highly factionalized elections which brought in the duo of Emenike Nwekeoji and Olusegun Oduntan as the National President and Vice President respectively of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in September 2023, the graveyard peace which heralded the pyrrhic victory seems to have ruptured.
The fragile peace, which was the fallout of the five years of bitter and intractable war that sent the oldest freight forwarding association to a state of inertia, now seems to have given way to distrust, bickering, animosity, suspicion and repressed anger among the top echelon of the association.
To underline the smouldering fresh crisis that has hit the association, Nze Aloy Emeka Igwe, the Chairman of the Association Elections Committee(ASECO )of ANLCA, has resigned his appointment.
In his letter of resignation dated 27th, February 2024 and addressed to the National President, Emenike Nwekeoji, Igwe, in a voice laden with regret and bitterness, cited extraneous influence, backbiting, under current and lack of trust” as the reasons why he called it quit.
“ASECO as presently constituted depicts a divided house due to the extraneous influence and pressure.
” The under current, the backbiting and lack of trust within and without ASECO have caused me to review my membership and chairmanship of the committee.
“I have deeply addressed my thoughts to this, consulted my family, friends and associates and decided that my time with ASECO is irreversibly over.
“There is no energy, no motivation left in me to continue to work under the prevailing regrettable circumstances” Igwe bemoaned.
A few days after the resignation of the highly traumatized ASECO chairman, a coup was played out at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport chapter of the association where one Chief Bola Ashiru Balogun, one of the defeated candidates of the chapter elections staged an unsuccessful coup to unseat the incumbent chairman, Bangbala Adewusi, Monday, March 4th,2024.
In a commando-like style, Chief Bola Balogun came into the Chairman’s office with officers of the Police Force from the Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2, Onikan.
According to an eyewitness account, on the strength of a petition of threat to Life against the Chairman, the Chairman, Chief Adewusi followed them to the Zonal Headquarters
“While the Chairman was away to Zone 2, Chief Bola Balogun allegedly came with hoodlums and area boys to forcefully break into the office of the Chairman and seize power forcefully on the strength of a May 2023 court judgement, which has been appealed and is currently being heard by the Appeal Court”
However, the attempt to unseat Chief Adewusi, who sources said was an unpopular chairman foisted  on the chapter by the cabal in ANLCA, was thwarted by members of the Task Force, led by the CSO, Mr. Maxwell Onyemachi, and other well-meaning members of the chapter loyal to the embattled chairman.
However, the last is yet to be head of the failed coup at the MMIA chapter as a group loyal to Chief Ashiru Balogun has promised to relaunch the attack on the Chairman, Chief Adewusi who they regarded as a puppet of the cabal in the association.
Stakeholders feared that the recent happening in the association may have signaled the slide of ANLCA back to another round of crisis which has ravaged the war-weary group for five years before its graveyard peace that is now shortlived.
The ANLCA President, Emenike Nwekeoji, through the Sectary of the Association, Olumide Fakanlu, “has graciously accepted the resignation letter of the highly embittered ASECO chairman.
In his acceptance letter dated March 1st, 2024 and signed by Fakanlu, the ANLCA President said the letter was received with mixed feelings but nonetheless, it was graciously accepted while wishing Emeka Igwe well in his future endeavours, thus signaling the resumption of hostilities in the acclaimed oldest freight forwarding Association in Nigeria’s maritime industry
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Headlines

Tantita Seizures: Court orders forfeiture of MT Kali to FG

The Eyewitness Reporter 
Private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), has added another major win for the nation in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in a landmark judgement, as the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the forfeiture of an illegal crude oil vessel, MT Kali and its content to the Federal Government.
Securing this judgement is the first scenario in recent times when oil thieves and their barons are being prosecuted and brought to book as 20 crew members, including community boys’ accomplices, were arrested in the operation.
The police in the Charge NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/18/2024 B/W: INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE V. MT KALI & 22 ORS, had arraigned the vessel and its 22 crew members before the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice J.O. Abdulmalik.
Justice Abdulmalik granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of MT Kali & her content to the Federal Government.
However, the arraignment of the suspects was stalled as they were not produced in court by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff.
All efforts by the prosecuting counsel to convince the court to issue a production warrant to be served on the military authorities for the production of the defendants on 18th March 2024 being the next adjournment date or at least the issue of the defendants’ summons to be served on the defendants through the military authorities proved abortive.
The court, however, sternly warned that the charge may not survive beyond the next adjournment date should the prosecution not secure the attendance of the defendants for their arraignment and plea.
The illegal oil bunkering ship was arrested by the operatives of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited in conjunction with the special security task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, on January 11th, 2024.
The ship was arrested while siphoning crude oil from the Pennington Oil field of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa State.
The case is being prosecuted to a logical conclusion in the act of dexterity and patriotic zeal by the operatives of Tantita led by its Executive Director, Operations and Technical Services, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh and a team raised by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun.
Egbetokun had directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the bunkering ship.
Investigations into the arrest of MT Kali were being intensified as operatives of Tantita arrested another illegal bunkering ship MT HARBOR SPIRIT, weeks after, on February 4th.
The Moldovian vessel was caught while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State.
The investigation and prosecution of the two bunkering ships and their crew members were being diligently coordinated by Enisuoh and Head, Investigation, IGP-STPIB, Mr. Omar John Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).
It was gathered that MT Harbor Spirit and members of her crew have since been arraigned in court on Friday, March 1st, 2024.
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Customs

Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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