Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has disclosed that machinery is in motion for the dredging of the Forcados River which will lead to full operations of the Warri Port.
Okowa made the disclosure at the maiden edition of Warri Economic Summit held in Warri, Warri South local government area of Delta State on Thursday.
He said, “It is our sincere hope that with the anticipated dredging of the Escravos bar, bigger ships can berth at the Warri port and this should lead more businesses to return to Warri, the industrial hub of Delta State.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend the Nigerian Port Authority for awarding the contract for the dredging of the Escravos channel; this project is necessary for the port to regain its pivotal role in the economy. It is my belief that we can use the port as a platform to promote the growth and transformation of the State and national economies.”
Okowa noted that to ensure hitch-free movement to the Warri Port, his administration has secured more than 50 hectares of land through the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom for the construction of tankers’ park.
The governor said his administration was committed to providing a congenial atmosphere for private enterprises to flourish by proving peace and the building of strategic infrastructures across the state.
He said, “The theme for this summit: Warri Rising is most appropriate. Warri is no doubt the economic nerve center of the state and also the most populated. This makes this summit critical to our overall vision to develop the State; Warri began trading with Europe more than 500 years ago.”
Governor Okowa urged the people to remain peaceful and avoid criminal activities.
The former Governor of the state, Emmanuel Uduaghan, stressed that the youths must accept that the Warri Port must work, this whole exercise is about the youths, their future.
He noted that efforts are on for the dredging of the Forcados River adding that blame game should stop and the people should take responsibilities for their actions.
Former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye, said, “Warri Port cannot function with collaborative efforts with other local government areas.”
He emphasised that the Escravos Bar will be dredged for the Koko and Warri Ports to be functional and called on the youths to ensure a peaceful environment for development projects to take place.
Chairman of Warri South local government area, Hon. Michael Tidi had in an address, said the economic summit was important because “Warri needs to regain her pride of place as a business hub in Nigeria and in West Africa. The 2-day summit is to rebrand Warri away from negative connotations of the last decade or two, identify sector Warri can be number 1 or 2 in business within the next 3 years and identify what can be done to revive maritime trade in Warri within the next 6-12 months.”