By Lucy Ogalue
Minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi has urged Oyo State government to participate in putting infrastructures in place for the Inland Dry Port in Ibadan.
Amaechi, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Mrs Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, on Friday, also appealed for access roads to service the dry port and the train station in Moniya or relinquish the project to another state on the route.
The minister made the call at a meeting with the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde in Ibadan on the sidelines of his visit to the Inland dry port site.
Amaechi outlined the issues hampering the construction of the port.
He explained that if the issues were not fixed now for construction to commence, the pressure on Ibadan will be too much to handle when movement of cargoes from Apapa to Ibadan begins.
“We are here to inspect the inland dry port and to make sure that Ibadan is ready before the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
“There are issues of border, we had acquired the land, gotten C of O when the former governor was here, now they are denying us entry into the land. We had 90 acres of land, now we have access to only 40.
“In building the Inland Dry Port, part of the regulation is, when the government acquires land and gives to the Federal Government, the state government will provide infrastructure,” he said.
He said that if the infrastructure was converted to equity, then Kaduna would be the first to ask the government for equity, because they were the first to provide those infrastructures in Kaduna Dry Port.
” So many state governments have given us land to build inland dry ports and Oyo State will not be an exception. And, we don’t expect that Oyo State will ask us to convert those constructions into equity.
“If you don’t want to crash Ibadan town, you need to build a road to link Moniya to the old Ibadan/Oyo road.
“The reason is, the moment we start trucking cargoes from Lagos to Moniya, even if the dry port was not there, you’ll have pressure in your city if there is no road to get them to exit from there.
“So if you don’t want pressure on your city and on your infrastructure, because what we have today in Lagos, Apapa gridlock and others will transfer to this place; there will be gridlock here.
“If you don’t want the gridlock, we need to start preparing now, because in June the President will commission Lagos Ibadan rail line.
“And, when he commissions it, it’s our intention to begin to move cargoes on that track, and those cargoes that are going to Kano, Port Harcourt and other states may end up in Ibadan,” he said.
The minister noted that the construction of a link road would boost economic activities in the town just as it is experienced in Lagos.
He said that if Oyo State government was not ready, the project would be transferred to another state on the Lagos-Ibadan rail route.
“The Governor of Ogun State has put so much pressure on me, including asking me to build one or give them approval for one in Abeokuta.
“And, I said no, because if I give you approval for one, if it doesn’t kill the one in Ibadan, it will limit the ability of that one to function.
“They (Nigeria Shippers Council and the contractors) have suggested a way out. They want the borderline layout, the infrastructure, and the money for your equity participation.
“As soon as we get this, we go to cabinet, and as soon as we get cabinet approval, then construction will start.
“So if the Oyo state government is not interested, let’s know now, so we don’t have to go to cabinet, we’ll start fresh negotiations with another state on the line between Lagos and Ibadan.
“The one of Kaduna, they did not contribute and did not ask for equity, so they don’t have equity, but here if you want 15 per cent equity participation, then you must contribute.
“And, it means that you want to share in the profit and the running of the business, so it depends on what you want,” Amaechi added.
Responding, Makinde expressed the state’s interest to participate in the project and pleaded with the minister not to move the project to another state.
“Most of the challenges mentioned, there’s non that cannot be resolved. We have completely reconstructed the Moniya to Iseyin road.
“We want the dry port to be able and ready to handle the headache from Apapa. You have my commitment and that of the state government to participate in this.
“Please don’t negotiate with Ogun. We want you to partner with us on this and we’ll do everything to make sure the issues are resolved quickly.”(NAN)