Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to accelerate the process of giving approval to the State’s request to build two seaports in Lekki and Badagry.
The Governor said the State had already deployed resources and manpower to the construction of the seaports, which, he said, were being initiated to complement the capacities of the existing ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island. Sanwo-Olu spoke while receiving members of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Ports Decongestion led by Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, said Lagos needed two additional ports which would serve the State and also build the national economy.
He said: “Lagos needs to have two other ports which would not only serve us, but also build the national economy. We have initiated the development of Lekki seaport, which has started. We are building another port in Badagry.
“But, we are still in conversation with the NPA to grant the approval, because we have added five developers, financiers and partners on the Badagry port. If we can finish the construction of both seaports, it would free up the congestion in Apapa axis and create new business hub for our people.”
The Governor said the Federal Government’s move to grow non-oil sector and boost the economy would be rewarding if the capacities of existing seaports were efficiently maximised. He pointed out the need to enhance the efficiency of the Apapa and Tin Can Island seaports for improved non-oil revenue generation, stressing that the decongestion of the two ports was long overdue. Sanwo-Olu said his visit to the two Lagos ports within 48 hours after he assumed office was an indication of the strategic role of the two seaports were playing in sustaining the state’s 24-hour economy.
He said the setting up of a joint Taskforce by the State and the Federal Government to tackle gridlocks along the routes leading to the Ports was a step to prepare the ground for full decongestion of the facilities, urging that the effort should be complemented with a total overhaul of the seaports’ operations for improved efficiency.
He said: “Smooth operation of the Lagos seaports is not only critical to sustaining our commerce in Lagos State, it is also critical to the growth of the national economy. If, in truth, we want to be serious about developing non-oil sector to boost the economy, it is important for us to take proper action and decision on our seaports because they have great potential to completely transform the national economy.
“More importantly, we need to look for solution that will reflect on the two port gateways of this nation, which are the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. It is clear that those ports are overwhelmed, because the level of yearly turnout coming out of them has since doubled.”
The move by Lagos Government to build two additional ports, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, was part of the measures being undertaken by the State to support the Federal Government’s effort to decongest and reduce pressure on the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports.
Hon. Yakub said the ad-hoc committee was set up by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to investigate the cause of congestion of the seaports, with the task to give recommendation towards solving the existing challenges for non-oil businesses to thrive.
Describing the seaports as “critical gateways”, the lawmaker promised that the recommendation to be submitted by the committee would lead to the maximum utilisation of the seaports as well as generate jobs for the youths.
He said: “The House of Representatives believes the seaports are critical gateways for exchange of consumer goods. If our seaports are not functioning optimally, our economy would be sick. We will handle this oversight function with the urgency it demands to turn around our ports and make them efficient.”