The commissioning of the project which received favourable commentaries from Nigerians across the country, raised hope, especially among people in the north central region that the age-old dream of having a functional inland port in that part of the country which was last active during the colonial era, would come true.
LEADERSHIP’s investigation revealed that since the commissioning of the project in January 2019, the port has not been put to use because the waterway has not been dredged.
Many residents have severally raised alarm over the deteriorating state of the facility which gulped millions of tax payers’ money, but their fears are yet to receive the attention of the government.
A group, Baro Port Rescue (BPR), powered by a non-governmental organisation, The Blue Resolution Initiative (TBRI), first raised the alarm over the state of the port.
At one of the group’s media events recently, the secretary general, Ibrahim Akib Ja’afaru, said the group visited Baro port and found that the port was not ready for business.
He stated that after a tour of the facility that included twenty different interest groups, including civil society organisations, it was discovered that even the road to Baro was in a deplorable state, as the road construction contract has since been abandoned.
According to him “Work is only at 30 to 40 per cent level of completion, dredging is still far from being completed” .
Jafa’aru further said that “infrastructure around the port are not receiving the proper attention they deserve, communities around the port are still far from feeling any impact of the port’s location in their domain.”
The group’s secretary general said the buildings erected at the port were to serve as warehouses and some administrative blocks which were commissioned by president Buhari in 2019.
Similarly, a Baro resident, Mohammed Jibril, told LEADERSHIP yesterday that “we were told that for the port to be put to use, River Niger must be dredged up to Baro, but that is not forthcoming”.
Another resident, Yusuf Aliyu, said, “it will be very difficult for the port to function because even the road to Baro is not motorable, people spend four hours on a journey of thirty minutes”