The Borno State Government is to work with the Nigerian Shippers Council to fast-track the establishment of the Maiduguri Dry Port project.
Approved by the Federal Government since 2006, the port, when established,will have all the features of an international port with all agencies similar to those at the Ports in Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country, for import and distribution of goods from Nigeria to neighbouring countries, such as Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Sudan and Central Africa.
This was the outcome of a visit and courtesy call by a delegation from the Nigerian Shippers Council led by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Hassan Bello, as well as some shippers and the management of a company granted consent to operate the Maiduguri Port.
Bello acknowledged that Borno Government had already allocated a good site for the Port and that the Council was ready to work with the State government to have a Project Implementation Committee to begin work.
The Executive Secretary said the site allocated by the Borno State Government would require roads, electricity, water and security posts, which he said Governor Kashim Shettima had promised to provide.
“The Maiduguri Port will be just like the Apapa Port, it will have all the departments and all stakeholders in the maritime industry, the only thing that will differ from Maiduguri Dry Port and Apapa will be water. However, containers are going to be shipped by railway soon as they arrive Lagos or any Port. A Port is not meant to be a warehouse, it is a place for clearing goods. We don’t have any need of stocking containers in Lagos, we will transport them to Dry Ports as they land from ships Goods will be cleared here in Maiduguri without the need to go to Lagos or any other port”, Bello said.
He said the benefits of the project would be enormous, because it would create at least 5,000 jobs, aside from the economic benefits associated with the Port.
Governor Kashim Shettima, who received the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council and his team, said he was committed to fast-tracking the establishment of the Port in Maiduguri, given the economic benefits that would help fight i poverty, which contributed to the insecurity in the state.
“If we are serious about addressing the boko haram insurgency, we have to fix Borno and the rest of the northeast. Some may see the boko haram crisis as Borno’s problem, but then, there is always a ripple effect, when a population centre within a region is either hot or cold. Borno is to the northeast, what Kano is to the Northwest; Borno is to the northeast, what Lagos is to the Southwest and what Port Harcourt is to the South-South. It is expected that if the economy of Lagos boils, the southwest would catch cold,” said Governor Shettima.
Governor Shettima said Borno state, with the chunk of the northeast population, was a gateway to export of goods to Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Sudan and Central Africa and capable of making a huge impact on the economy of Borno with multiplier effects on the rest of the northeast.
He pledged to give the Nigerian Shippers Council all the support it needed to ensure the success of the project.