The efforts of the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu towards developing a deep seaport in the riverine area of the state appears to have paid off as the Federal Government has finally agreed to open discussions with the state on the project.
This development is coming on the heels of the cancellation of the $2.6bn Badagry deep seaport project by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The Badagry project was reportedly halted on the ground that the deep seaport master plan was wrongly done.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Hajia Hadiza-Bala Usman was reported to have explained that what was currently required in Nigeria was to fast-track the development of deep seaports that would make the nation’s seaports competitive.
In a bid to finding an alternative to the cancelled Badagry seaport project, the NPA boss is expected to have a preliminary meeting with Governor Akeredolu on the possibility of exploring a “seamless but due process” to commence the construction of a deep seaport at Araromi Seaside in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. The meeting will hold next week, barring the unforeseen.
An impeccable source in the Federal Ministry of Transport who gave the hint said the option to develop the Ondo seaport was informed by certain natural advantages the site had aside the preliminary technical efforts the state government had put in that regards.
“From the look of things, the next destination after Badagry had been cancelled, remains Araromi in the coast of Ilaje local government in Ondo state, and we are committed to this because we are already under pressure to find lasting solutions to the embarrassing gridlock in the Apapa area of Lagos.
“Already, arrangements have been concluded for the NPA team to meet the Ondo State government to explore a seamless, but due process towards the realization of the project.
*We are aware that so much efforts have been put by the state governor for there to be a seaport along the coastline of that state and precisely in Araromi where there is a natural trench and deeper raft than the Badagry project which would be more expensive to embark upon because it lacked the required minimum of 16 meter raft in depth.
He said the choice of Ondo, aside the natural advantages was informed by its proximity to the south east and south via Okitipupa and Ore.
Giving reasons for the cancellation of the Badagry project, the NPA boss said it was done to avoid financial and commercial liabilities.
“If you look at the Badagry and the Lekki deep seaport projects, they are all within the Western ports. The port master plan will guide us on whether it is okay to have two deep seaports in close proximity to each other.”