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The Dilemma Of The $1.5 Billion Lekki Deep Sea Port Completion  

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Lekki deep sea port during construction (Photo credit @PrinceujayTwitter)
Lekki deep sea port during construction (Photo credit: @Princeujay/Twitter)

The China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) handed over the Lekki deep sea port to the Lagos State government. The massive project gulped $1.5 billion and is the country’s first deep sea port.

The completion ceremony which was held on Monday 31 October 2022 at the Lekki Area Site in Lagos State witnessed the convergence of stakeholders and dignitaries from Nigeria and China. Other international partners were also present at the ceremony.

During the ceremony, Wu Di who is the Vice President of CHEC and who also served as the director of the Lekki deep sea port revealed that the construction work began on 15 June 2020 and was officially completed on 24 October 2022.

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According to Mr. Di, the completion of the construction work on the Lekki deep sea port makes way for the Lekki Free Port Terminal (a container terminal operator) to take over the Port in preparation for the commencement of operations.

Lagos State governor during the inspection of the Lekki deep sea port construction (Photo credit: Premium Times Nigeria)
Lagos State governor during the inspection of the Lekki deep sea port construction (Photo credit: Premium Times Nigeria)

With the Lekki deep sea port now completed, the focus has not shifted to the road infrastructure leading to the port. However, the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reiterated his commitment to the timely completion of the Ibeju-Lekki axis to ensure a seamless removal of shipment from the port.

Mr. Biodun Dabiri who is the Lekki Port Board of Directors Chairman was full of praise for the project promoters. Dabiri celebrated Tolaram and CHEC for their courageous decision to invest in maritime infrastructure which will help to accelerate Nigeria’s economic prosperity journey.

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“We are delighted to celebrate the completion of construction work at the port and the effective handover of the services,” Dabiri said. “The journey involved many steps beginning from the conception of the idea by Pa Mohan Aswani through Tolaram for the benefit of the Lagos Free Zone and the entire state and country.”

The economic impact of the Lekki deep sea port

Aerial view of the Lekki deep sea port (Photo credit: @Princeujay/Twitter)
Aerial view of the Lekki deep sea port (Photo credit: @Princeujay/Twitter)

The Lekki deep sea port is one of the construction projects that African Vibes has been tracking for the past two years. Governor Sanwo-Olu said the project will offer over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the coming months. Also, the governor noted that the Lekki deep sea port will be a revenue earner for the government through taxes.

“The Lekki deep sea port puts Lagos in the position of becoming the global maritime logistics hub in West and Central African region,” the governor said. “It will help Nigeria to attain full economic leadership possibilities under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu assured investors of the Lekki deep sea port that the government will collaborate with them to ensure improved ease of doing business. Dabiri highlighted that the completion of the Lekki deep sea port shows how effective global collaboration can help to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructural gap.

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Mr. Dabiri estimated that the port will generate $361 billion during the concession phase and more than $201 billion in revenue for both the state and federal governments.

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Features of the Lekki deep sea port

One of the unique features of the Lekki deep sea port is its 16.5 meters draft that will allow it to accommodate larger vessels. Governor Sanwo-Olu also said that the port was designed to handle 1.2 million Twenty Equipment Units (TEU) annually.

These features will make the Lekki deep sea port a trans-shipment hub for the entire region. Another interesting feature of the port is that it was a product of international tripartite cooperation involving Nigeria, France, and China.

Mr. Di explained that all the parties to the collaboration have a role to play. “The French side will provide their experience, cargo volume, and shipping routes,” Di said. “The Chinese side will handle the construction, maintenance, and use of the port. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy. We are hopeful.”

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Lekki deep sea port has been described severally as a game-changer in accelerating Nigeria’s economic growth. African Vibes will continue to monitor the impact of the project and how well it will be managed in the coming years. The management of Lekki Port is still waiting for the date of the formal commissioning of the port.

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Nigerians react

Offshore view of the Lekki deep sea port (Photo credit: @Nuellnyada/Twitter)
Offshore view of the Lekki deep sea port (Photo credit: @Nuellnyada/Twitter)

The current government of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been criticized for economic mismanagement. Under the watch of the APC government, the Naira fell to its record low—and continues to fall almost daily.

With the elections just around the corner, many Nigerians cannot wait to dislodge the administration. Therefore, the completion of the Lekki deep sea port was a bitter-sweet moment. It was sweet because of the huge economic potential it presents. However, many hated the fact that the Lagos State governor was a member of the APC.

Critics of the administration will rather have them continue to err so that they won’t ever have a change of mind on voting them out in the coming elections. However, acts like the Lekki deep sea port completion shot such critics into a dilemma.

The Lekki deep sea port will help to decongest the Tin Can Island Port Complex and the Lagos Port Complex. However, as one problem ends, another begins. Many are concerned about the government’s plan to ensure the traffic gridlock experienced around the other two ports will be avoided in the new port.

The Lagos State government has already pledged to expedite the construction of the access road to the port. However, with the fight for electoral positions taking the center stage, every other project will likely be secondary.

Also, considering the culture of abandoning projects by previous administrations, what will happen if governor Sanwo-Olu loses his re-election bid?

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