Why Koko Port Cannot Be Dredged Beyond 7.5metres-NPA
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko has said that due to an NNPC pipeline that is buried about 7.5metres in Koko Port channel, the port channel cannot be dredged beyond 7.5metres.
Speaking with maritime journalists in Lagos at the weekend, Mr. Bello-Koko revealed that an investor has already shown interest in the Koko Port.
According to the NPA MD, “Somebody asked what we are doing to revive Burutu, Koko and Sapele ports. For Koko Port, there is an investor that has indicated interest to use the port for export purposes. The investor wants to be exporting minerals through the Koko Port.
“There is a lease there. It’s a short term lease but the investor wants a long term lease. It is when we finish the marking and surveying of tbe channel that we will conclude discussion with the investor.
“The channel has an NNPC pipeline that is buried about 7.5metres, so we cannot dredge beyond that point. Discussions has started with NNPC to see if that pipeline can be buried deeper. If the pipeline is buried deeper to maybe 10 or 14metres, then we will be able to dredge the Koko Port channel to 14metres.
“Koko Port has one of the longest channels and that makes it extremely expensive to dredge.
“For Sapele port, we have been having meetings with the Nigerian Navy to see what we can do with the port. We are collaborating with the Navy to see what part of the port can be operational without jeopardizing security. You know that the Sapele port has practically.been turned into a Naval base, so we cannot just bring in civilians there when the whole place is filled with military personnel. Of cause, we all know why the Navy took over that port.
“We are accessing the Infrastructures at Koko and Burutu ports. We will be rehabilitating them very soon, especially Koko Port. The quays are collapsing and there is no electricity there. This are one of the things we will be doing this year.”