Having decided that this week’s article will focus on Niger state youths, as i got my pen and paper and ruminating on how to begin an open letter to Niger state youths without offending them, then an instant message from Facebook poped out on my screen from a (elder)brother, who knows me to have takes on national politics asked me to comment on a video he shared on his timeline of the minister of transportation Hon, Rotimi Amaechi discussing the state of Baro port in an interview with the NTA.
In the video, the minister discussed the viability of the project, but, what caught my attention was where he opined the project as a ‘waste of resources’, so, I decided to suspend my open letter to Niger state youths for another day and thus posit for the sake of my brother who requested for my opinion and as well for my Niger state and Northern colleagues whose hopes were rekindled by the rehabilitation of the ports and its inauguration by the president before 2019 elections.
My take is that Baro port cannot be a waste of resources. This is because, Baro port history was dated back to colonial era as the first port in Nigeria, Baro Port is an inland water port regarded as the first settlement of the Governor-General of Nigeria, Lord Lugard, in 1912. It was frequently visited by tourists who want to explore the history of colonial Nigeria.
In the colonial era, before construction of other ports, Baro was a thriving River Port and had a railway line, which were used for evacuation of farm produce and mineral resources. It was also a trading hub between Nigeria and neighbouring countries through the inland waterways transportation mode. If this port was used before, then i think it can be used again. Therefore Mr Minister, Baro port can be reworked and be functional as it were before.
I believed that late president Yar’Adua who started the project did so believing, like other well-meaning persons that, Baro port would enhance intermodal transportation connectivity in the country, it would also reduce pressure from big trucks off the road, and create huge employment opportunities for Nigerians, while also decongesting other busy ports, this, president Buhari also affirmed during the inauguration of the port in 2019, what has changed Mr Minister? Or is this another of President Buhari’s white elephant projects?
Idris Mohammed Shabafu,
Minna, Niger state