The people of Baro communities in Agaie local government area of Niger State last week rolled out the drums to sing President Muhammadu Buhari’s praise over the completion of the inland port in Baro. Abu Nmodu reports.
The host communities of inland port at Baro in Agaie local government area of Niger state, have poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring the completion of the all important port.
The people who had cast doubt on the completion of the project because of the slow pace of work on it by the immediate past federal government, thanked Buhari for bringing their long time dreams to fruition.
The village Head of Baro, Alhaji Mohammed Ndanusa Salihu Kazoro, had in 2013 told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the engineers who were sent for the dredging did not do any serious work on the existing depth of the river as expected by the community.
He said “there is no ship that can come to this place because the work is not good, you can see that everywhere within the depth of the river is filled with sand so where do you expect ship to come into the port?
“Instead of them to carry out sand out of the course of the river and to widen the river for the ship to be able to land, up till now it has not been so and we don’t know how ship would be able to land with this poor work. “
However, in April 2016 when the governor of Niger state, Dr Abubakar Sani Bello visited the site of the Baro Port , he expressed concern over the level of work at the Baro inland port as inherited by the All Progressives Congress government in 2015, but expressed satisfaction then that the APC government was able to bring work at the port to appreciable level.
Notwithstanding, Governor Bello was concerned that going by the huge investment on the dredging of River Niger and the expectant returns, the federal government ought to have ensured the immediate take off of the Baro in-land port.
He cautioned that further delay in operating the port maybe counter productive, adding that”I am impressed by the level of work done on this port. I learnt the dredging of Baro to Lokoja has been completed and the construction work on the port is almost at 98 per cent completion. All we need to do now is to expedite action and put this critical and strategic in-land port to use.
According to him “we cannot allow further delay in putting this facility into use. The huge investment and the expected returns in dredging River Niger and the construction of the port should be optimally harnessed in the face of the present economic realities”.
In order to fast track the full utilisation of the port, the governor said that administration has declared Baro town an urban settlement and has put in place a 10 kilometre radius developmental plan for the town.
This he said was a deliberate policy to ensure effective take off of the in-land port.
“This is a big project that will not only open up this region, it will provide massive job opportunities and business ventures for our people and meet our electioneering promise of job creation,” he stated.
The technical officer in charge of the port then , Mr. Ibrahim Shuaibu Vulegbo told the governor that the dredging of the waterway from Baro to Lokoja had been completed while the port only requires installation of the cranes and perimeter fencing.
However, the Acting Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Danladi Ibrahim had last year declared that the Baro port, had been completed and was ready for operations.
LEADERSHIP Sunday findings showed that the Baro port could create up to two million direct and indirect jobs. Little wonder, the news of the completion excited the people of the host communities who had praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the feat.
The president received accolades from host communities of Baro Port during a peaceful rally in appreciation of his administration’s completion of the inland port.
The people who gathered in their thousands at Agaie, the headquarters of the host communities applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for actualising their long time dream for the completion of the project.
They marched peacefully from market along the major streets to the Emirs palace where the Agaie Consultative Forum (ACF) in collaboration with Agaie Emirate council, also organised a talk show and presented their appreciation letter for onward delivery to the president.
The Emir of Agaie, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu received the letter for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Papers on the ‘Importance of Baro Port as an Emerging Commercial City to the Development of our Community and the Nation in General’ was presented at the talk show by Prof Mustapha Zubairu and Engr Muhammadu Dagaci .
The guest speakers, Prof. Mustapha Zubairu and Engr. Muhammad Dagaci in their respective presentations applauded the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari for giving Baro Port the desired attention.
They, however, stressed the need for the provision of all necessary infrastructure needed to boost commercial activities in the area.
Prof Zubairu said that Baro is historical and has a global project for development and needed the sensitisation of the host communities to warn them against unguided land speculation that was alleged to have commenced in Baro.
The interim chairman of Agaie Consultative Forum, Hon. AbdulMalik B. Aliyu stated that the development of the River Niger into an inland waterway system with ports in Baro and Lokoja was strategic and critical to the socio economic development of the emirate, and the nation.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello who was represented by the commissioner of Tertiary Education, Alhaji Mohammed Baba Adamu expressed support for the actualisation of Baro Port.
He added that the state ministry of Culture and Tourism has presented a memorandum to the council for the revival of all tourism sites in Baro, to maximise the potentials of the inland port and to also boost the cultural and tourism sub sector in the state.
The Emir of Agaie, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu stated “we are appreciative of the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts and commitment to the completion of Baro Port. That is why we gather here today. Our appreciation is to enable him to show more commitment to the project and I pray to God to grant him protection and guidance in governing the country to greater heights.”
It was gathered that the port will soon be commissioned.
The inhabitants of the host communities are eagerly looking forward to when this will happen. Those interviewed by LEADERSHIP Sunday were appreciative of the efforts of the federal government in ensuring the completion of the Baro inland port.
They expressed optimism that the Baro port would boost commercial activities of not only the Agaie Emirate but the entire Nupe land and the state in general as the area will soon become the melting pot of economic activities.