You must build rail for cargo evacuation before you commence operation, Senate tells Lekki port promoters

The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has suggested that the Tolaram Group, sponsors of the Lekki Deep Seaport, should include rail transportation in their construction works to avoid gridlock along the port access road. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Ahmed Yerima, made the suggestion during an oversight function of the committee and a visit to Lekki deep seaport on Monday in Lagos.

He said that rail should have been included in the port project, adding that the Talaram Group could still include it “since the project is still under construction”.

“If you finish construction without facility for railway, the project will be having problem due to poor road management.

“We will not want what we are experiencing on port access roads in Lagos to occur in Lekki-Epe area, because it is really affecting the system,” Yerima said.

He said that the committee would ensure that the operations of the NPA were in accordance with the law of the National Assembly.

“We are working to ensure the operators of the NPA are working in accordance with the law,” he said.

Yerima said the committee would ensure that additional agreement did not violate the laws of the country.

He said that the Senate has approved the budget of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), adding that there was need to ensure the budget is implemented according to the law.

The Director of Lekki Deep Sea Port, John Mastrondes, said the company was committed to embarking on the deep seaport project, which will cost $1.65 billion dollars.

“We have been talking extensively on railway system but we will continue the discussion with NPA on how to include it on our project.

“I was born and brought up in Nigeria and I wish to see the beginning of this project because it will not only boost the economy of Nigeria but also create wealth to the people in the community.

“There is a letter forwarded to us from Lagos State Government to start construction of two roads connection with express way.

“Public Private Partnership will also support the first road development,” Mastrondes said.

The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadizah Usman, commended the efforts of the committee and their commitment to ensure proper operations of NPA. Usman said that the relationship existing between the National Assembly and the Senate Committee would be strengthened as a result of the lawmakers’ commitment.

She said that adequate information would be available to the committee as the members embark on their oversight functions to enable them have on-the-spot reports.

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