By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel
The House of Representatives is set to commence investigation into the abandoned Onitsha Inland Port.
It also urged the federal ministry of transportation and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority to undertake the dredging of river niger to facilitate passage of vessels and badges from from the sea to Onitsha inland port facility.
This decision is consequent upon a motion calling for the investigation into the abandoned Onitsha port moved by Hon. Obinna Chidoka.
Chidoka in his debate, recalled that the Shehu Shagari administration concieved the Onitsha Port as a port of origin and final destination for cargoes to ease the perennial congestion of Lagos ports with attendant hardship to port users and huge loss to the economy.
He noted that Onitsha Inland Port was abandoned when the military overthrew the Shagari administration in 1984 and added President Umaru Ya’Adua rekindled inteterest in the abandoned project and awarded a contract valued at N4.182 billion to rehabilitate the facility.
The lawmaker noted that the government of ex-president Good luck Jonathan completed the rehabilitation of the port in 2012 as a bonded wharf where Nigerian Customs Service NCS and other agencies generate revenue through export and import of cargoes.
He however expressed worries that despite the huge resources committed to the facility, it is lying idle while other ports in Lagos are congested with goods largely imported by businesses situated close to it.
Chidoka regretted that Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation which ought to put the port to gainful use, are undecided on how best to utilize the facility.