Amaechi warns of ‘Ibadan gridlock’ as govt donates land for dry port

Ameachi warns of ‘Ibadan gridlock’ as govt donates land for dry port
L- R: Deputy Governor, Oyo State, Moses Adeyemo; Governor Abiola Ajimobi; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, during the exchange of letters for the Ibadan Inland Dry port at the Oyo State Government House in Ibadan on Tuesday.

The Oyo State Government has officially handed over 90 hectares of land for the proposed Ibadan Inland Dry Port (IDP) project to the Federal Government through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). 

This is coming as the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, warned of the likelihood of Oyo State inheriting the protracted Apapa gridlock if adequate transport infrastructures are not put in place to complement the inland dry port and increased commercial activities, which he said would commence on the Lagos Ibadan rail track before the end of the year.

Speaking during the exchange of letters at the Oyo State Government house in Ibadan on Tuesday, Amaechi said the facility, when fully operational, would not only ease the Apapa traffic congestion but will also boost economic activities in Oyo State.

He said, “There are two things that I see the Oyo State government is not preparing for. You should call the attention of your successor to those two things and I will name them for you. The moment we complete that track and commercial activities start, I suspect that Apapa gridlock will ease off and if we are not careful, Ibadan gridlock will start and until we are able to do Ibadan to Kano, there are chances that the gridlock will transfer to Ibadan.

“What are the consequences? Traffic madness in Ibadan but there is also a good side to it, we’ll create employment, business and economy of the state will change within that period. How prepared is the Oyo State Government? 

“I want to make a quick suggestion. At the point where you have the IDP, there is a road close to the expressway, but not tarred. So if you do a tarred road from there to the express, you will ease the gridlock and the earlier that is done, the better for Ibadan people.”

The Minister, who used the opportunity to inspect ongoing work on the rail track, thanked Governor Abiola Ajimobi for the ‘gift’ and the communities for their support towards the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail track. 

“I want to appreciate the host communities for their support towards the Ibadan rail project. Even when schools were demolished, they gave us time to rebuild. The money we would have spent in appeasing the host communities, we spent on expanding the rail overpass and underpass. 

“Let me also congratulate the Governor for finishing strongly. I have spoken to people about the Governor and they said he focused on infrastructure,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, said the Ibadan dry port will reach its commercial and financial close before the end of August 2019. 

Bello said the procurement process of the project had already commenced while request for qualification had been advertised and bids opened and evaluated.

According to him, the next stage of the project would be the issuance of Request For Proposal (RFP) and afterwards negotiations will be conducted, adding that a transaction adviser has been appointed for the project.

Bello, while thanking the Oyo State Government for the land hosting the dry port, said the facility will enhance the nation’s cargo handling and processing capacity by 40,000 TEUs per annum.

Responding to Amaechi’s warning of an impending traffic gridlock in the state, outgoing Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi said, “In 2007, you will recall that there was this Federal Government concession for six inland dry port and Oyo State, Erummu happens to be one of them and today we are witnessing that milestone of exchanging necessary documentation to formally say we have handed over the land to the Federal Government. 

“In doing so, we must express our profound gratitude to the government for bringing to us a very strategic economic booster to the state. It will not only improve our economic development but our socio-cultural development. 

“We rather have a gridlock of commerce, progress and development than the gridlock of hunger and thuggery which we are experiencing.”