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Barau Port Set For Commissioning

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), says the inland port at Barau in Niger, has reached 80 per cent completion and would be ready by March 2013.

The Managing Director of the authority, Alhaji Ahmed Yar’Adua, announced this when the Ministers of Information and National Planning, Mr Labaran Maku and Alhaji Shamsudeen Usman respectively, visited the facility on the Good Governance Tour.

“We have reached 80 per cent completion and we are doing everything to see how this port can be completed and put to use.

“This project would have been completed by December 2012 but due to the recent flooding, we have shifted it, so I assure you that it will be completed by December 2013.”

According to him, the Federal Government awarded the contract in December 2009 but work began at the site in the first quarter of 2010.

The managing director said the project was expected to be completed in 20 months but it faced some challenges such as the lack of access road, in security and community interference, among others.

“The flooding washed away the only access road leading to the port, making it difficult for heavy construction equipment to get to the construction site by road.”

He said the contract was awarded at N6.6 billion while payments to date stood at N4.9 billion.

Yar’Adua added that aside the sand filling of the harbour which was almost completed, other major construction work still pending included administrative buildings, security post, generator house and water treatment plant.

Responding, Maku said that instability of previous administrations, had robbed Nigerians of many dividends of democracy.

“If we had embarked on this project in 1954, we would have been doing another project now, not this one anymore.

“So because of governments not being stable, projects such as the inland water ports were not done, ’’ he said.

He said that the Federal Executive Council had awarded contracts to purchase two passenger barges for the channel to ensure that it did not lie fallow after its completion.

“With the recent flooding, you could see that if we had alternative route, we all needed not to go by road.”

The minister assured Nigerians, particularly citizens of Niger, that the job would be completed.

Maku said that on completion, it would ease pressure on the roads and boost economic activities in the state and the country.

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Maritime

PTOL Wants  NPA To Repair Port Access Roads

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The Ports Terminal Operators of Nigeria Limited (PTOL) has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex, to repair access roads leading to the port to enhance easy flow of traffics.
The operators said the bad condition of the roads had negative impacts on its operations and internally generated revenues.
Company Secretary, PTOL, Chroma Okwuanyi, stated this during a facility  tour of the terminal by the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation led by Hon. Victor Kolade Akinjo with officials of Rivers Port Complex, Port Harcourt.
Okwuanyi said that due to bad access roads, heavy trucks cannot access the terminals and the complex.
He appealed to the House Committee and the Management of NPA, Rivers Port Complex, to reconstruct the access roads to enhance its operations and safety.
Okwuanyi lamented that truck drivers accessing the terminals find it difficult to do business in the complex due to bad access roads. 
“Many investors and truck owners doing business in the Port had relocated to other ports due to the bad roads as it hugely affects the trucks”.
“We are appealing to the House Committee and NPA management to assist the operators reconstruct the access roads to standard so as to enable us carry out our operations”, he said. 
He also appealed to NPA management to  provide modern navigational aids to enable the operators carry out their operations effectively.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Nigeria Partners Denmark On Fight Against Piracy In GOG

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The Federal Government has expressed its willingness and readiness to collaborate with the Danish government to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod, made this known at the ongoing 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States. 
Onyeama said the renewed effort by both governments took place during a bilateral meeting between him and   Minister of Denmark.
He said apart from the Gulf of Guinea, Denmark has been very supportive in the area of humanitarian assistance in the North-East regarding the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Foreign Affairs Minister described the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Denmark as a win-win situation, even as he said Nigeria was looking for more investment into the country.
He said that Nigeria is trying to diversify and attract more investment. 
Collaborating on the renewed efforts, Kofod said Denmark was strengthening its cooperation with all of the countries around the Gulf of Guinea and deploying resources to the Gulf of Guinea to fight piracy.
Kofod also said Denmark wanted to cooperate with all the countries around the Gulf of Guinea to fight the root cause of piracy.
He said Denmark was occupied with safe travel for its seafarers and its ships.
“As a maritime nation like Nigeria, we are very occupied with safe travel at sea for our seafarers, for our ships. So, that is why we are investing heavily in this”, he said.

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NCS To Deploy Drones At Borders To Check Smuggling

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says it will soon deploy drones at the Seme border to check smuggling activities.
Coordinator of Customs, Zone A, Lagos, Assistant Comptroller I, General Modupe Aremu, disclosed this during a visit to the Seme Area command.
Aremu said border management surveillance would be done electronically through the use of drones to ensure that there is aerial overview of the border.
“Seme command visit is the end of my tour in zone A, and I must commend all the commands. They account for over 80 percent revenue collection by the NCS and so they should keep up the good work.
“With the tour of all commands, I have seen that all the officers are doing well but they can do better. And I am telling them that they should expect impromptu visits from the zonal coordinator. So, they should not relax on the job.
“E-customs N300 billion contract, that is, end-to-end automation that is about to kick-off, is about information and communication technology connectivity. When it comes on board, we are going to have electronic signature, drones patrolling the border”, Aremu said.
She said the service was trying to minimise person-to-person contact to reduce human interaction and make the work faster and more efficient.
Aremu urged officers to keep abreast of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol in order to understand procedures.
On enforcement activities, she urged the command to keep up the work done as the country needs the service to properly secure its borders.
Aremu expressed hope that the scanner at the border would start functioning to help simplify processes as much as possible.
She also urged the command to ensure proper compilation of case files and prosecution of arrested suspects to show the seriousness of the service in fighting smuggling.
Also speaking, Customs Area Controller, Seme Area Command, Bello Jibo, said enforcement activities were not affected by the border closure as the command intercepted 1,244 suspected smuggled goods with duty paid value of over N856 million.
“The command has a very good understanding with the host community and in cementing this relationship. The command built and handed over a modern toilet facility to the Badagry West Development Area and partnered with an NGO to equip the Badagry United Football Club.
“The challenges faced has to do with ICT interconnectivity at the joint border patrol, signing of bilateral agreement, connection of the barracks to the national grid, and inadequate junior staff,” he said.

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