The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli has called on the Federal Government to carry our dredging and resuscitation of Warri and Koko ports in order to stimulate the cities’ economies and create jobs to stem restiveness and crime in the areas.
The Warri monarch made the call while receiving a delegation of top officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by the agency’s Director-General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, who were on a courtesy visit to the king at his palace in Warri.
While condemning restiveness and militancy in the Niger Delta region, the Warri king thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing an indigene of the area director-general of NIMASA despite the fact the immediate past head of the agency was also from the Niger Delta.
He said, “Warri port was the life wire of Warri. In my kingdom, we have Warri and Koko ports. Koko port is a natural harbour, but it has also been abandoned. Vessels come to Lagos and wait for days to berth but the Warri port lays empty.
He said, “Please, as head of NIMASA, whatever you need to do to resuscitate Warri and Koko ports please do. Idleness is reason for restiveness and crimes in this area. Do what you can to resuscitate the ports and give jobs to the boys. Their agitations are genuine but the approach is bad. We can agitate in peaceful manner. The president is listening and he will do whatever the people want. He’s doing a lot already.”
Earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA, Peterside hinted that the visit to Warri was to appraise the Warri operational offices of the agency to determine how they can be made more efficient. He said it would be out of place for NIMASA top officials to have visited Warri without paying a courtesy call on the king of the city.
He assured the Olu that he was already making a case for further improvement of the ports in Warri and Koko.
“Warri is one of the most important port cities in Nigeria. Warri port was one of the features that presented Nigeria to the global community. It will be sheer ignorance to have come to Warri port without visiting the Olu.
“We are making a case for dredging of Warri port and fighting piracy to make more vessels call at Warri port. We are making Warri the centre for NIMASA operation as well,” Peterside said.
Part of the NIMASA delegation include the Executive Director, Operations, Oluwarotimi Fasaki; Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage, Ahmed Gambo and Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Bashir Jamo.
Others are Director Cabotage Services, Mrs Juliana Gunwa and Deputy Director Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka, among others.