Maritime:Engr.Sambo’s Last Lap, Commissions NIMASA’s Two Projects In Kaduna State

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Barely, a few days  for President Muhammadu Buhari to handover to Asiwaju Bola Ahme Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the President-elect on the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, platform,  the ministers  are still carrying  out their official duties.  The Katsina state born Nigerian President had told the ministers’ penultimate week, that they must continue to come to office until May 29, 2023.

 It was not surprising why   Muazu Jaji Sambo, an Engineer and outgoing minister of Transportation could Commission the Skills Acqusition center established   in Zaria, Kaduna state and a twin Lecture theatre donated to the state University by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA,   under the Leadership of Bashir Jamoh, OFR.

The Skill Acqusition centre, according to Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and the agency spokesperson, in a statement  has learning  facilities  Youths and Women such as  Electrical, Mechanical , Sewing, Technical and Wielding among others.

NIMISA twin Lecture Theatre Built In Kaduna State, University Commisioned By EngrSambo

An appreciative Sambo,  who is very proud of Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General,  in his execution of people0oriented projects , noted that these projects  are part of ‘’the legacies  of the  Katsina state born Nigerian President’s Administration to  improve education  as a basic need of  for economic development ‘’.  

An elated Jamoh, who could not hide his feelings over the initiate and completion of the projects in Kaduna state, noted that the NIMASA, Skill Acquisition centre, of the centres located in the north west geopolitical region..  He may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he disclosed that higher institutions in all the other geopolitical zones across the country are also benefitting from the agency Corporate Social – Responsibity, CSR, projects.

Hear him: Our desire is to ensure that young Nigerians acquire skills to make them self –dependent and productively engaged.    The NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who could not hide his feelings had said  that the agency  are also   developing such skill acquisition centres  in Niger, Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former Nigeria military President , home state, Lagos, home state of Tinubu, the President –elect,  Anambra, where the Nigerian President recently Commissioned the second Niger bridge, linking the south east and the south –geopolitical regions,  Gombe , Bayelsa, home state of former President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers state.The NIMASA, CEO, had said that  the execution of the projects   are aimed at ‘’fighting insecurity  on land , which will have a multiplier  effect  on security  in the nation’s maritime domain.

Egr. Sambo,Minister Of Tranportation, Jamoh, DG, NIMASA, And Others

Nasir El-Rufai,  a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and outgoing going of Kaduna state , who was said to have been represented by Ambassador Nuhu  Bamali, may  have used the opportunity of Commissioning the two NIMASA, projects in his state ‘’ to commend  Jamoh’’  for completing it in record good time’’, assuring that ‘’the centre  will be maintained  for the benefit of the people’’.

 He had said  that  ‘’the NIMASA, boss,  has continued  to maintain focus  in ensuring  that the Nigerian maritime  sector  takes  its rightful place  in the commity of maritime nations’’ over the last three years .  

El-Rufai,In Disussion With Engr. Sambo, Minister Of Transportation And Jamoh, DG, NIMASA, While Others Watch

        It is on record that on Monday, May 12, the outgoing minister had commissioned the agency five enforcement boats, four staff ferries and ultramodern world class clinic in its Apapa base in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, including a Permanent office Complex, at the FCT.

Perhaps, one agency where the outgoing minister was said to have made much impact wasin Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMWA, where he had worked for 13 years as a staff.The outgong minister was said to have  used his short stint in   office  to embark on  projects  that will lead to development of the Inland water ways in Nigeria, describing it as ‘’the cheapest means of moving goods  from location to another that would greatly  increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

The outgoing minister of Transportation may have been encouraged to embark on the new  Inland water ways projects  over the last nine months because  the North American country of the United States , US, depend on  the Inland Water Ways  to move goods and services in their economy.

He had said that through the Inland Water Ways means of Transport, the country moves millions of tons cargo valued at over $90 billion annually and 60% of its Agricultural exports to other markets across the world are carried through the Inland Water Ways . 

  Given that Nigeria is  abundantly blessed  with ten thousand  Kilometers  of water ways, may  have informed why  he as paid much attention over the last nine  month to the  development of the nation’s Inland Waters could easily be used to move agricultural products   and other minerals to the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island, Port Terminal and Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, an the south east ports of Onne, PortHarcourt, both located in Rivers state,   Warri and Calabar pots , located in Delta and Cross river respectively..

Until his  appointment  as minister of Transportation in June 2022,  Engr. Sambo was said to have  travelled to the Asian country of China,  between 2016 and 2018,at the instance of the NIWA, Management ostensibly to market  the  marina  water fronts  owned  by the agency and reclaim  the land   to build  Container terminal  as well as  passenger terminal  for people passing through Apapa.

Giving an insider information , he noted that  the marketing  idea was informed by the fact  that  when Containers  come into the Lagos ports, instead of the terminal operators and the shipping Companies  discharging the   Containers  meant for the   Onitsha market  in Lagos, and transport  them in barges or vessels   that can transverse  low droughts  to the Onitsha river port  to be picked by trucks  for distribution  in the hinterlands, it would be taken to the river port.

It was therefore not surprising that when he was appointed minister of Transportation last June by the outgoing President,   he saw it as an opportunity to invest in the channel between the Baro river point to the Onitsha river port   and the Warri port   at the Niger river and onward connection to the Gulf of uinea for a sustainable maritime transportation route.

He was optimistic that if the projects could be completed by the ministry of Transportation while he is still in office, ‘’ it would lay a solid foundation for Navigation network   that could connect the Lagos ports, Lekki Deep Seaport located in the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, with the Onitsha and Baro river ports for transportation of Containerised and non- Containerised cargoes for shipping efficiency in Nigeria.

Aware of the revenue potentials of a well -developed Inland Ways in Nigeria, as being championed by Engr. Sambo, the outgoing minister of Transportation  may encouraged   African Export-Impport Bank , Afreximbank, to provide  a grant of $350,000  to NIMWA, and also leveraged on its   partnership  with the Nigerian Export-Import  Bank, NIXIM ,  the ministry of Transportation  and the Nigerian Navy  under the close watch of  Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo,  to facilitate   the movement of  cargoes  using Navigable Water Ways in Nigeria.

The unveiling of the Navigational Charts of the Lower  river Niger, project  executed by  Sealink  Consortium  in Collaboration  with the Nigeria  Navy, NIWA and  NEXIMBank, using the $350 Afrexim bank  grant speaks volume. The outgoing minister of Transportation was emphatic that the Navigational Chart project of the Lower river Niger if completed would replicate what is happening in the US, where 60% of the country’s Agricultural produce are moved   through Inland Water Ways.

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