By Christiana Ekpa
A member of the House Representatives representing Warri Federal Constituency, Daniel Reyenieju has called on President Muhammad Buhari and the management of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), to designate Warri port as the nation’s export destination.
The lawmaker equally advocated for the Shifting Export Activities to be moved to the port after dredging, stating that the aim is to ensure that, the over 13 billion Naira spent on dredging does not go to waste.
Our correspondent reports that, the motion that led to President Buhari administration awarding the dredging project was sponsored by Hon. Reyenieju on the floor of the House.
Reyenieju disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the need to decongest the Apapa port in Lagos by moving all export related activities to Warri port, making it a corridor for both originating shipments and empty containers.
He advised that it would be economically unwise for such an amount to be spent dredging the port only to starve it of necessary maritime activities that could generate more revenues for government.
“What I am calling the federal government to do as a matter of policy; this has got nothing to do with laws; it is just operational policy of the Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Ports Authority is to designate the Delta Port as an export zone or export destination.
“Delta is the only state in this country that has four ports; Warri Port, Sapele Port, the Koko Port and the Burutu Port. These are heavy cargo ports in terms of petroleum export terminals; the Warri refinery terminal and the Escravos terminal where crude oil is exported out of the country. So, the essence of the Escravos bald mouth which was dredged about 45 years ago, became very necessary.
“Whatever that needs to be exported out of this country should go out through that corridor while whatever that needs to be imported can come in through the Lagos Port and any other port. That may not foreclose the need to export few oil and gas materials through the Warri port.
“Why I say this is for us not to dredge and at the end of the day the place is not put to use, which would not in any way help our nation”, he said.
The lawmaker also urged the NPA management not to be distracted from completing the ongoing dredging of both the Escravos and Warri Channels, accusing those who lost in the bidding for the dredging contract as sponsors of irrelevant protests.
“When I brought the motion to the House, it went through and the
executive saw the need to act on it and it has been awarded in the past three months to a very reputable company.
“The first phase is ongoing. It has been very progressive. But having said this there’s need for us to also to make sure that the port becomes very effective after the dredging, because we are not going to spend about N13bn to dredge a place and at the end of the day the place is not going to be put into proper use”, the lawmaker urged He said doing so would generate employment and improve the local economy of host communities, as well as remove undue pressure from Lagos where port decongestion has become more counterproductive to the economy than blessings to Nigerians.