President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday commissioned the Lekki Deep Seaport during and witnessed cargo handling operations executed by the CMA CGM Mozart at the quay side.
The president Buhari described the project as “a game-changer that would redefine maritime activities in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.”
The event was attended by the Governor of Lagos State , Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Transportation Minister, Muazu Sambo, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun and other dignitaries.
Sanwo -Olu in his speech told the President that it was a good development that the project was happening during his administration.
He described the seaport as one in which “the size of the vessels that will berth at the port would be four times the size of vessels that currently berth at Apapa and Tin Can Island Port.
”We are excited that in your own time, something fresh has been birthed in this country and it is going to generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”
Speaking, the Transportation Minister Mu’Azu Sambo, thanked the President for his efforts in completing the project and finding time to visit Lagos for the inauguration ceremony.
He said, ”The very fact that the letter of intent between the proponents of Lekki Deep Seaport and its financial partners was signed as recently as April 2019 and by January 2023 the wide-ranging impact project is already being commissioned is a testament to the tenacity of purpose of the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Nigerian Ports Authority.
”With Seaports being under the exclusive legislative list, the Nigerian Ports Authority’s provision of a sinking fund for Lekki Deep Seaport Federal Government’s equity contribution gave this project the necessary statutory cover and financial guarantee in line with the law.
”Completing a project of the magnitude and impact of a deep seaport in a record time of 45 months shows the effectiveness of tenacious ministerial supervision, strict regulatory oversight and strong presidential backing.”
The Chinese Ambassador in his goodwill message said the project was a good business model, explaining that four countries were involved in the project.
He said, “This project is a joint venture between China, Nigeria and Singapore, and is run by a French company. The model of ‘five parties from four countries’ is a way of taking advantage of the wisdom and strength of all parties.”
He assured that China will be involved in promoting the business model designed for the seaport.
The project was completed in November last year at the cost of $1.6 billion.
The Chinese retains 52.5 per cent ownership of the port.