*Urges govt to address insecurity on eastern waterways
Port Harcourt — The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has debunked the narrative that resuscitation of seaports in the eastern region will cripple the seaports in Lagos, describing this as wrong thoughts.
IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, said rather the revival of eastern ports, such as Warri port, Onne port, Calabar port, Port Harcourt seaport, and Koko port, would complement Lagos ports and improve the overall economy of the country.
Omare while speaking exclusively to our correspondent on the recent concessioning of the Terminal B, Warri port to Ocean and Cargo Terminal, a subsidiary of Sifax Group, described the development as a good omen towards the resuscitation of Warri seaport.
He added that the Federal Government must ensure the concessionaire operates with international best standard, as well as improve the port facilities for importers and exporters to have seamless use of the port.
According to him, “On reviving the eastern ports, I think it’s wrong thinking to assume that once eastern ports are functional, then the functionality of Lagos ports would be affected.
“It is not so, instead of making the eastern ports functional would complement the Lagos ports and improve the overall economic standing of Nigeria.”
On how the eastern ports could be effectively revived, the Ijaw Youth leader called on the Federal Government to dredge the water channels and also address the issue of insecurity in the eastern waterways
He said there should be a mechanism to involve locals from communities in the process of securing the eastern waterways, just as in the case of pipeline surveillance.
“I think the Federal government needs to dredge the channels to the ports and address the issue of security. On security, I think that apart from equipping the conventional security agencies, there is a need to involve communities in the security of the waterways/vessel channels.
“I hold the strong opinion that no act of criminality can consistently take place anywhere in the world without the knowledge of people from that environment. Finally, all stakeholders must work with the government to revive our ports.”
On the formal handing over of Terminal B of Warri port to Ocean and Cargo terminal(Sifax Group), Omare said, “It is a good omen towards making the Warri port which has been in a state of comatose functional.
“I think what the Federal government needs to do to make the concession to be of optimal benefit is to ensure that Ocean and Cargo terminal services comply with the terms of the concession agreement in the area of improving port facilities for importers and exporters to have seamless use of the port.”