Lagos projects jobs as Buhari opens rice mill, seaport

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has unveiled the $1.5bn Lekki deep seaport, and the Imota Rice Mill in Ikorodu, Lagos.

The Lekki deep seaport has been described as one of the largest seaports in the country and one of the biggest in West Africa which its promoters have said would improve efficiency and serve as a major driver for economic growth in the region.

The President, during his visit to Lagos on Monday, was received by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, and other members of the state executive council at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja.

After he inspected the guard of honour at the airport parade ground, Buhari visited the Lekki deep seaport and took a brief inspection trip around the project to inspect its facilities.

Speaking at the event, Sanwo-Olu noted that the size of vessels that would be coming to the Lekki Port could be up to four times the size of vessels that currently berth at both Tin Can and Apapa Ports.

He said, “The project is a total combination of efforts of the Federal Government, Lagos State, and the private sector and we are happy that this is happening in your time.

“It all started within your time and it has been completed within your time. The size of vessels that will be coming here could be up to four times the size of vessels that currently berth at both Tin Can and Apapa Ports, so it is a massive infrastructure and we are indeed excited that something fresh has been impacted into this country.

“It is going to generate thousands and thousands of jobs directly and hundreds of thousands of jobs indirectly in the entire ecosystem and this is your own project and we are excited.”

Buhari also visited the site of the Imota Rice Mill in Ikorodu where he inaugurated the facility.

In his brief address at the Imota mill, Sanwo-Olu said, “The President is really delighted to be here to commission the largest rice mill in entire sub-Saharan Africa, and one of the largest in the world: the Lagos Rice Mill in Imota and it is being done because of the agricultural revolution of Mr President.

“When he started his government he said, ‘Nigerians should grow what they eat and they should eat what they grow.’ We are happy that Lagos is a testament to that. With 2.8 million pounds of 50kg rice per annum, Lagos is ready to support the food revolution in Nigeria. It will create 250,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

Also speaking at the event, the Ranodu of Imota, Oba Mudashiru Bakare-Agoro, said, “It is worthy of celebration for me. I am 30 years on the throne, and I am celebrating that with this project opening. It’s a landmark achievement given to Imota by God Almighty through some people.

Some of those present during the inauguration of the projects was the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo; Minister of State for Transportation, Mr Ademola Adegoroye; Governors Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun.

Earlier, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammad Bello-Koko, disclosed that, some neighbouring countries are already expressing interest to bring their cargoes through the Lekki deep seaport.

“It is a dream come true. It will help in bringing in more cargoes, and employment, it will become a model for other deep seaports in Nigeria.

“Already, NPA has started acquiring equipment that will make for easy cargo evecuation,” Bello-Koko added.

Also speaking, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said, “I am one of the happiest persons here, because today, we are seeing the emergence of one of the best ports not only in Nigeria but in Africa generally. Maritime industry is one of the sectors, apart from oil and gas that pursues the development of the Nigerian economy.

“Today, we are seeing the realisation of one of the best ports in West Africa expected to inject not less than $360bn and also provide employment of not than 190,000 Nigerians.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime, said, the project represented a dynamic change, as far as the Nigerian maritime industry was concerned.

Article first published on the Punch Website

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