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NigeriaDecides2023

Reps urge FG to re-award Calabar Seaport dredging

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to re-award the contract for the dredging of the Calabar Seaport to a reputable company with a mandate to complete the project within a specified time frame.

The House also urged the Nigerian Ports Authority to supervise the project and ensure that standard depth is established to enable larger vessels to berth in line with international best practices.

It mandated the Committee on Ports and Harbours to investigate the contracts awarded in 2006 and 2014 respectively with a view to ensuring that all issues militating against complete dredging of the Calabar Seaport are resolved.

These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Alex Egbona from Cross River at plenary on Tuesday.

Moving the motion, Egbona noted that the Calabar Seaport is the oldest seaport in Nigeria that ships goods like palm oil to Europe and other parts of the world in the sixteenth century.

He also noted that the port was privately operated by various shipping companies including John Holts until December, 1969 when the Federal Government took over the port’s facilities from the erstwhile operators and vested it on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Read also: Reps ask FG to handover moribund refineries to IOCs, others

The lawmaker said the House “further notes that the development, modernization and expansion of the port complex was embarked upon under the third National Development Plan of 1975–1980 and commissioned on 9 June, 1979 by the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo.

“Recall that the refurbishment generated a considerable level of attention and activity, but for questionable reasons, the port has failed to live up to its full potential.

“Aware that there have been diverse government proclamations on the dredging of the port dating back to the administrations of General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sani Abacha but no tangible thing had been done to rehabilitate the port.

“Also aware that in 2006, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo Administration awarded a contract for the dredging of the port to Messrs. Jan De Nul and Van Oord at a cost of $56 million but abandoned the projects in a protracted moribund state.

“Further aware that in 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan initiated the Calabar Channel Management (CCM), a Joint Venture company between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and a consortium of companies led by Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited with a mandate to dredge the port.

“Concerned that although Calabar Channel Management was reported to have commenced work, the port is yet to be dredged till date; Cognizant that quick completion of the Calabar Seaport would help decongest the Lagos Ports and reduce the hardship of waiting for hours to clear goods.”