By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says federal government will do everything in its power to ensure that the objectives of Inland Dry Port are achieved in Jos, Plateau state and other designated states.
Mr Amaechi stated this during the site inspection of Heipang, Jos Inland dry port.
He added that the move was to ease the challenge of doing business for importers and exporters from that part of the country.
According to him this will also avoid the stress exporters and importers encounter as they approach Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt or Sapele seaports.
“I hope the concessioner will conclude the construction and whatever installations that he needs to do, and I hope the shippers council will give him all the necessary support that he needs”
“When they met with me, I also did make some concessions to them. I encouraged them to conclude whatever it is they need to do and I am doing that because the facility will employed some people from plateau state,” the Minister explained.
Mr Amaechi said the development of such facilities across the country is based on tripartite arrangement with federal government, state government and the private investors with stakeholders to play a vital role in the implementation.
On his part, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong appreciated the Federal government for the inland container port.
Mr Lalong appreciated the minister’s job, and added that he expects the Jos narrow gage and other rail system links to the state to be completed.
“I also want to also use this opportunity to express the concerns of the people of plateau state with regards our airport. Sometimes they will tell us that’s its international airport, other times, they will say it is not.
From history, Jos airport happens to be one of the first grade airports in this country. But unfortunately, the airport is as it was in the 80s up till this moment”
Mr Lalong also appealed to the minister to conclude the construction of the airport for immediate use, adding that “the state can also come in where necessary.
“We are already waiting because if they start the construction, “there are interventions the state government will also want to go in immediately.”
“The railway from Kaduna to Abuja, all the travellers from Bauchi, gombe yobe and Maiduguri were all eager to see the same type being constructed from Abuja to Jos. Just Abuja to Jos will be enough to accommodate six or seven states from Yobe, Taraba, Gombe, Adamawa, Bauchi and the whole of northeast and I am sure if you do that, it will take care of the insurgency in the north.”
Responding, Mr Rotimi Amaechi said that “the Jos railways will be concluded after negotiations with GE. We will rehabilitate the old narrow gauge” he said, adding that “the old narrow gauge starts from Port Harcourt passing through Jos to Maiduguri and is about 3,505km”.
“The narrow gauge will cover Jos temporarily while we look for money for standard gauge. The difference between standard gauge and narrow gauge is the speed. One is 80 km, one is 220 to 350km. Depending on what you can afford to build”.