By Ebenezer Ishola
Following the outcry of the host communities over alleged neglect and delay of the Badagry Deep Seaport project, an idea that was birthed 10 years ago, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said the construction of the deep sea port would start in June once the State is granted ratification by the Federal Government grants ratification in April.
Governor Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance during a stakeholders meeting and community engagement on Badagry Deep Seaport Project held at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) Auditorium in Topo, Badagry.
The Governor, who assured the people of Badagry that his administration is determined to push development to Badagry axis of Lagos State, reiterated the government’s readiness to compensate residents for economic losses on buildings, ancestral lands, farms and sites as a result of the deep seaport.
He said: “We need to go to Abuja to get a re-ratification because it is NPA that owns the license for port. So, we need to get ratification from Abuja. That process has started and we are praying that before the end of April, we will get that ratification.
“Once we get that ratification, by the grace of God we will plan to see if we can start something by June. Once we get that ratification, two months, we must activate something. We want to start the project as soon as possible. We want to deliberately push development to this axis.
“The Badagry Deep Sea Port Project is not just one project; it is a multi-level opportunity for progress for all the people of this State in view of the volume of trade and quantum of investment opportunities that would spring up in the area when the project commences, and when it is completed and operational. Very importantly, employment and capacity building for the teeming youth and women in the affected communities will be prioritised.
“About 10 years ago during the administration of one of my predecessors, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, this Sea Port Project, which is the reason we have organised today’s community engagement, was conceived as a flagship project that when fully operational, would not only boost the fortunes of the people of Badagry, but, also transform the entire economy of our State and that of the entire West African sub-region.
“As you are all aware, when completed, this deep sea port will be the second in the State after the one in Lekki, which is projected to be commissioned this year. It is expected that with these two deep sea ports, we will experience significant relief from the difficult challenges being experienced in the Apapa axis as a result of the activities at Tin Can port which has been overstretched beyond its installed capacity.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also congratulated the Management of Badagry Port Development Limited and the host communities for being collaborators and joint beneficiaries of the laudable project which would positively impact lives and businesses, create wealth and improve standards of living in the Badagry division of Lagos State.
Speaking earlier, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperative, Mrs. Lola Akande, said the State Government hopes to chart a way forward in ensuring smooth and cordial relationship between investors, Badagry Deep Sea Port Limited and members of the host communities.
“We are hopeful that at the end of the day, under Mr. Governor’s direction, we would be able to chart a way forward in ensuring smooth and cordial relationship between our investor, Badagry Deep Sea Port Limited and members of the host Communities, with a view to safeguarding easy access of the investor to the Project Land Area, whilst assuring our host communities, who are the ancestral land-owners of adequate protection of their various concerns and interests by the State Government,” she said.
The Managing Director of the Badagry Sea Port Limited, Mr. Didi Ndiomu in his remarks said the Badagry Deep Seaport project will be developed in four phases under a public private partnership arrangement that includes the supporting roles of both Lagos State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Ports Authority, as well as other relevant Government Agencies.
He also noted that the affected communities would be compensated.
“The deep seaport is to be located in Gberefu area of Badagry, Lagos State and it covers an area of approximately 1,103 hectares out of which 623 is dedicated for port activities including an 18-meter draft and 4 Km quay, making it a port with the deepest draft and widest berths in Sub Sahara Africa, capable of berthing the largest vessels known in existence today such as the 400-meter-long Maersk Triple E class with a carrying capacity of 18, 000 TEUs as against the present 4,500 TEU West Africa Maximum (WAFMAX) vessel. An additional 480 hectares of land has also been earmarked for industrial and logistics park zone.
“The scope of the new port includes terminals for containerized and non-containerized cargo, dredged access channel, tuning circle, port basin, anchorage area, shore line protections, an offshore supply base, refined product import jetties, industrial and logistics zone and supporting transport infrastructure,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the host communities, the Alapa of Apa kingdom, Oba Oyekan Adekanbi Ajose, expressed their satisfaction about the plan of the Lagos State Government to attract more development to Badagry through the sea port project.
He said 10 out of the 12 host communities to the Badagry Deep Seaport are in full support of the project in their communities because they believe it will attract more development to the Badagry axis and therefore urged other communities to support the project.
Also speaking, a traditional leader and chairman of the host communities, Chief Frederick Ajanisan said: “We are happy with the project and we are also grateful to Governor Sanwo-Olu for showing interest in the project. Coming to Badagry for a stakeholders meeting today showed clearly that Governor Sanwo-Olu is interested in the project.”