By Stephen Ubanna
When the $2.6 billion Badagry deep seaport project was conceived by the Federal government through the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, the Lagos state government and a Consortium of four firms, comprising of APM Terminals, Orlean Invest, Oando, Terminal Investment Limited, TIL, and Macquarie, about four years ago, not many people expected it to see the light of the day because of the continuous shifting of the goal post for the foundation laying.
The people of the ancient Kingdom of Badagry may have looked forward for the take off the project because of the anticipated development it would bring to the Community and the thousands of jobs that would be created . Bashir Jamoh, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency may have taken advantage of his visit to De-Wheno Aholu Menu Toyi 1, the Akran of Badagry, during the New Year, to keep hopes alive about the multi-billion dollar project.
He had said that the visit was ‘’to honour the Badary traditional ruler and the people of the Kingdom for allocating land to the Maritime Regulatory agency to establish a presence in the Community, before the take-off of the deep seaport project, which foundation is expected to be laid this Janaury, 2021.
The NIMASA boss visit to the Akran of Badagry’s palace and letting out the cat out of the bag about the planned foundation laying of the four-year old Badagry deep seaport may have filtered out to the Community as it dominated the people’s discussions during the New Year.
This is because they had looked forward to the implementation of the project during the Administration of the former governor Akinwumi Ambode , because of the promises that were made but were disappointed. Note that Ambode, was so fascinated about the project that he had said that its implementation would mark a turning point in the development of Lagos state. Babajide Sanwo-OLu, the incumbent governor of the state may have continued from where Abode had stopped towards the execution of the project.
This is evident going by his Statement in 2019 that his administration ‘’remained committed to the actualization of the Badagry deep sea project’’. Given the importance attached to the project , he had said that his government ‘’ will do everything humanly possible to let the project start’’. It is not surprising why he is very happy that the NIMASA Director General has resuscitated the project to make it a reality .
At the Badagry Paramount Ruler Palace, Jamoh , the NIMASA, boss had said that with the over 70% of the cargo bound for the West and Central African sub-region are destined for Nigeria, which is strategically located at a significant point of the Atlantic ocean , with about 853 Kilometers coastline, it makes the Badagry deep seaport a must to be implemented project.
He disclosed that the vantage position gives the country gives it a geographic advantage ‘’ to become the maritime hub of the West and Central African sub-region which places it at it at a huge Commercial advantage with the development of the Badagry deep seaport’’. The project, according Philip Kaynet, a Deputy Director, and NIMASA, Head of Corporate Communications had been’ planned to be Africa’s biggest and most advanced deep seaport when it becomes operational’’, which the agency Director General had alluded to the fact that ‘’it was due to the strategic importance of Badagry in the West African Sub-region’’.
Going by theCalculations of the promoters of the multi-billion dollars Badagry deep seaport, it is expected to have an annual throughput capacity of 1.8 million, Twenty –foot Equivalent Units, TEUs. Maritime analysts believe that the completion of the projet will ease the pressure on the existing Lagos port of Apapa which currently handles close to 85% of the country’s oil throughput.
The noted that it will also go a long way to alleviate the problem of country’s ports, which are at the verge of exceeding their cargo handling capacities as well as address the annual Container traffic which is expected to grow to 10 million TEUs by 2030.
To ensure the realisation of the Project, the NIMASA, Director General was said to have promised to work with the Ankram of Badagry and the people of the Kingdom Informed sources told The Value News that the deep seaport which is located in the Gberefun area of Badagry, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, is about 55 Km west of the Apapa and Tincan Island port Complexes. The project, The Magazine was informed will be implemented in four phases ,with the overall project cost estimated to range between $2 billion and $3 billion.
The Badagry deep seaport, the source confirmed is proposed ‘’to be about 4KMs of quay while 620 hectares would be dedicated port facilities only. Given an insider information on the project, the NIMASA Director General disclosed that it will also include facilities for handling Containers, dry and liquid bulks cargoes. This in addition to a roll-on – roll-off and general cargo facilities as well as oil and gas operations support facilities. There are indications that the Badagry deep seaport would also have another 480 hectares dedicated for Industrial and Logistics Park Zone.
Prior to Jamoh’s visit to the Ankram of Badagry where he opened up on the multi-million dollars Badagry deep seaport project, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of NPA, had said that the promoters have finally made a payment of $500,000 into an escrow account to show their Commitment towards the project. The project, according to her is being developed through public –private sector partnership , PPP and overseen by the Federal government , Federal ministries of Transportation, Trade, Investment and Industries and the Lagos state government .
An elated Hajia Usman had said that that the promoters of the multi-billion dollars Badagry deep seaport project the payment to the escrow account about a month ago, noting that the Authority has perfected arrangement on the final business case of the port project.
The NPA Chief Executive Officer , CEO, may have given an insight on why the project was delayed this long when she revealed that the transaction Adviser ‘’put in all government service into the outline Business Case as the service that would now be provided by the port Concessionaire, meaning that the towage services, and all manner of marine services that are originally the responsibility of the government through the NPA are now handed over to the proponents as part s of what they should do in managing the deep seaports.
NPA, may not have found this funny going by the Statement of Hajia Usman, the Managing Director, that the planned project was ‘’wrongfully drafted’’ as the promoters wanted to take over some responsibilities of the Authority like towage and marine services. The project may have dragged on as the Authority wanted the areas of conflict to be resolved before take off.This may have informed why the parties had to go back to the negotiation table for talks to review the project document. The aggrieved promoters of the project were said to have dragged the government to Court over the cancellation of the $2.6 billion Contract.
Perhaps, the resolution of the gray areas in the agreement paper may have informed while the promoters had made a deposit of $500,000 into an escrow account for the project and the planned foundation laying this month of January which Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director talked about during a visit to the Akran of Badagry.