Senator Bima Enagi (Niger South)
By Raphael Ekpang
The senate on Tuesday urged the federal government to make funds available to contractors handling Baro River Port project to enable the contractors complete their jobs.
During the plenary, the senate urged the committee to make adequate recommendation to facilitate early completion of the project while waiting the federal government to do it parts by making available the require funds for the completion of the project.
The Senate also mandated its committee on Marine transport, public procurement and works to investigate activities of the National Inland Water Authority (NIWA) in respect of the Baro Port in Niger State.
The resolution followed a motion by Senator Bima Enagi (Niger South) and co-sponsored by 22 other senators on Tuesday.
The upper legislative chamber also urged the federal government to facilitate the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge railway in Baro to ensure the rapid socio-economic growth of Nigeria.
It resolved among others that the federal government should transfer the roads project to Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) for better funding and execution.
Specifically, the Senate wants continuous dredging and maintenance by NIWA of Rivers Niger and Benue to ensure its navigability.
Senator Enagi bemoaned that funding of the access roads had been grossly inadequate; stressing that N670million and N4.5billion has so far been released for the project out of contract sum of N17billion and N33billion respectively.
He said “over N40billion has so far been expended on the various components of the Baro Port without achieving any significant progress towards utilization of the port”.
Enagi however expressed worry that such a laudable project with all its potential benefits would be neglected.
He maintained that “Baro port project is expected to create 3000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs as well as improve our road network by keeping heavy duty trailers and trucks off roads thereby expanding the life span of the roads”
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the plenary, Senator Enagi said “we have a committee that normally follow up on legislative motions, we expect the committee to take up the matter with relevant bodies of the executive.
“In addition to that one of the prayers that was added in my motion was for the Senate President and the leadership of the Senate to meet with Mr. President and let Mr. President know the importance of this motion and the urgency that should be attach to the completion of the Baro port” he added.