The Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, on Thursday said the people of the state now enjoys peaceful atmosphere, having successfully overcome the security challenge that bedeviled it.
He said the state government would do everything possible to push for the reactivation of the Inland Dry Container Port being executed by the federal government in Jos, the state capital.
Lalong who made the assertions during a working visit to the management of the Nigerian Shipper’s Council in Abuja, said contrary to the fears created in the minds of people about the security situation in the state, the entire state now enjoys relative peace and order.
He said Plateau State was about 80 per cent peaceful.
“Apart from the issue of cattle rustling that is also rampant in other parts of the north, the state is now enjoying a peaceful atmosphere which is good for business. I must say that we have received a lot cooperation from Mr. President, because anything we ask in terms of security, we always get, so for now we have very peaceful atmosphere for people to invest,” he said.
He expressed the hope that as soon as the inland dry port project is completed, actual export and import business will boom in the Plateau.
He said having been informed of the reasons why the project was kept on hold, Lalong assured that his administration would take immediate measures to reactivate it.
“I am personally interested because he said the idea of the ICD was muted when I was the Speaker of the House of Assembly but was disappointed the the project has been abandoned,” he said.
He noted part of the focus of the present government is on agriculture which would be better promoted by a good internal transportation system. According to him the establishment of ICD in the state will help to transform the agricultural sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shipper’s Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, said the council has proposed the setting up of an implementation committee to assist in resuscitation of the state ICD project.
He said the committee would also come up with the detail areas of collaboration between the state government and the concessionaires, especially in the area of equity participation in the project.
He regretted that the demolition of the council’s ICD’s building under construction by the previous administration in the state had affected the implementation of the port project in the state.
According to him, the ICD implementation committee will draw up a blueprint on how to rekindle the dry port project in the state.
Speaking on the mission of the council, Bello explained that the implementation of the inland container dry port project is key to the activities of the shippers council, adding that Inland dry container port is meant to drive inland transportation services to facilitate movement of goods to the hinterland.
The port will boost export activities in the country thereby reducing drastically the country’s dependence on oil as the main source of revenue.
The Executive Secretary said that the intention of the council is to help the maritime sector to contribute more to the country’s GDP and to make sure that country’s port are efficiently operated.
At present he said that the council is talking to Niger Republic to see how that country can patronize Nigerian port to utilise the facilities at the ICD in the North to evacuate their goods.
As way forward, Bello said the council demanded the state government’s immediate re-validation of the land allocation for the ICD project as well as the letters of exchange for the Heipang ICD site.
He also requested the revalidation of the building approval plan to the concessionaire to enable them continue with the construction of the ICD facilities.
Bello further told the governor that restarting work on the port project would also require the signing of agreement on government support approval to guarantee the state continued support to the ICD project.