The federal government has disclosed that the Onitsha River port could generate N23 billion in the next 30years. The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, stated this during the signing of the concession of the Onitsha River port on Thursday in Abuja. 

State of play 
Onitsha is a town in Anambra State that hosts one of the biggest markets in Nigeria and West Africa. It is also a strategic trade point that connects the rest of Nigeria to the southeast region of the country. Anambra state hosts other large commercial towns such as Nnewi. Onitsha houses the third longest river in Africa, River Niger, which has a total length of about 4100km. However, cargoes go through Onne port, River state, after which they transport them to Onitsha. 

Why it matters 
The signing of the concession of the port unlocks the economic potential that Onitsha and Anambra State hold. Apart from the economic benefits of job creation, increased revenue for both state and federal government, environmental development, etc, investors and traders limit the risk of losing their cargoes through accidents, road theft and many more. 

What they are saying 

  • Sen. Gbemisola Saraki in her speech said that once the process of concession of the Onitsha River port is complete, the federal government would turn to the Baro, Lokoja and Oguta ports, which are nearing completion as well. 
  • The Managing Director, the National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA) Dr George Moghalu, confirmed that about 60% of cargoes that arrive Nigeria through Onne, Tin Can or Apapa port end up at Onitsha. He then added that the weight of these products is too heavy to carry along the roads. “And what it translates to is that these containers are moved by trailers.”

What you should know 

  • One of the three major Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects includes the construction of the second Niger bridge at Onitsha, Anambra State. The other two projects are construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria expressways.
  • The second Niger bridge connects Asaba, Delta State to Onitsha, a town in Anambra State that hosts one of the biggest markets in Nigeria and West Africa. A second Niger bridge would ease the traffic that currently burdens thousands of workers, traders and commuters plying that route.
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