The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on Monday, unveiled the $1.5bn Lekki deep seaport project at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State.
The president who arrived at the venue for the commissioning some minutes past 4pm, only waved at the crowd.
Speaking on behalf of the President, the Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, appreciated the crowd for patiently waiting for the president to arrive for the official commissioning despite the delay.
He explained that the president decided to only give presidential wave to the crowd as an appreciation for their patience despite the delay.
Sanwo-Olu said, “Our partners that have travelled far and wide to come here, he loves all of you that is why he said he will come and give a presidential wave to all of you, thank you all for coming.
“Mr President, you can see that it has been a total combination of the Federal Government, Lagos state and the private sector. And we are happy that this is happening in your time, it started in your time and it has been completed in your time as well. We are indeed excited that the vessels that will be coming in here will be four times bigger than the size of the vessels that have been coming in at TinCan and Apapa ports.
“So it is a big massive infrastructure and we are indeed excited that in your time, something fresh has come to the country and it is going to generate thousands of jobs directly and indirectly to the entire ecosystem. This is one project that we are excited and with all our partners and agencies who have worked tirelessly to bring about what we are seeing here today. And of course, we thank the locals for understanding that this is an investment that has come to them”
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammad Bello-Koko, said some neighbouring countries have already started expressing interest to start bringing their cargoes through Lekki deep seaport.
“It is a dream come through, it will help in bridging in more cargoes, employment, it will become a model for other deep seaports in Nigeria. Already NPA has started acquiring equipment that will make cargo evacuation easy and seamless. Some neighbouring countries have started showing interest in bringing their cargoes through Lekki port,” the NPA boss said.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said, “I am one of the happiest persons here. Because today we are seeing the emergence of one of the best ports not only in Nigeria but in Africa generally. Maritime industry is one of the sectors, apart from oil and gas to pursue the development of the Nigerian economy. Today we are seeing the realization of one of the best ports in West Africa expected to inject not less than $360bn and also provide employment of not than 190,000 Nigerians”
“You know from time to time we experience abandoned projects, this is the first time we are seeing dedicated, political will on the discharge of government projects. When you count the number of years that the project commenced till now, it will be right to say that the project was started and completed by this administration because of the commitment and focus of our ministry.”