By Steve Agbota
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said that the Federal Government will in no distant time make a ‘Port Declaration’ of the proposed Ondo Deep Sea Port to herald the commencement of other processes at the port.
The minister, who gave this indication when he received the Governor of Ondo State, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, commended the steps so far taken by the state government to prepare for the port declaration.
After listening to a technical presentation by the consultants to the Ondo State Government, the minister said once all the prerequisites established by the extant laws are met, the Federal Government will not hesitate to make the Port Ondo Declaration, pursuant to Section 30 of the Ports Act.
Speaking further, the minister said: “We want to see this port come to life before the end of this administration”, adding that having another deep sea port will do a lot of good to the blue economy policy of the federal government.
Addressing those who posit that there’s a flurry of seaports in the country, Sambo said it is actually a positive thing, as the presence of the Atlantic ocean, the Rivers Niger and Benue puts the country on a better pedestal to harness, explore and export its rich minerals to other countries.
The minister stressed that there are only two deep sea ports in Nigeria, while all others are river ports, including Apapa and Tin-Can ports, adding that the development of the Deep Sea Port in Ondo is a welcome development to the country at large.
Speaking earlier, the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the reason for the visit was to acquaint the Transport Ministry with the vision of the State Government on the development of the deep seaport in the Ilaje area of Ondo in accordance with the Federal Government’s module of Public Private Partnership.
Akeredolu, who said the port will bring enormous socio-economic benefits to the federal government, the state and the host communities, added the Dubai Port and China Habour are among the many international partners who have signalled their interest in developing the port.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, said the Ondo State Government has made a compelling case for the port and thanked the Transport Minister, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, for his support.
According to Adegoroye, the minister is a seasoned technocrat having ventured across board the Nigerian Ports Authority and the National Inland Waterways and does not need the conviction of others as to the importance of the Port Ondo project.
Adegoroye assured the Ondo governor that the transport ministry will attach priority to the project as he himself had earlier stated that he would like to see the Port come to life before the end of his tenure as minister.