A group operating under the auspices of Indigenous People of Niger Delta, IPND has called on President Mohammadu Buhari to urgently direct the resuscitation of all moribund Ports in the Niger Delta region.
This was contained in a declarative statement issued to newsmen in Warri recently, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper, signed by Prince Tiemo Pumokumo, National President, Indegenous People of Niger Delta, IPND.
The group had particularly called on President Mahammadu Buhari and other relevant stakeholders in Nigeria not to politicise the revival of Ports in the Niger Delta region.
According to the President general of the group, Prince Tiemo, in his words “The IPND hereby demand that the Federal Government of Nigeria should forthwith resuscitate the numerous seaports in the Niger Delta Region including but limited to: the Sapele, Warri, Burutu, Koko, Port-Harcourt, Eleme, Calabar, Akassa, Okwagbe, Wimprey, Onne, etc, which were prior to government negligence, a major source of financial income to the people of the Region as well as massive means of employment to the teeming number of presently unemployed indigenous people of Region.”
However, President Pumokumo had blamed what he described as the endemic poverty in the region on the federal Government and its inimical policies on the people of the Niger Delta region.
Stressing that the quick resucitation of these Ports will add economic value to the Niger Delta and her people, asserting that the deliberate negligence of these Ports is nothing but an economic and political sabotage and a great injustice done to Niger Deltans.
The declaration read in part: “With a view to economically positioning the Niger Delta Region to be self-sustaining and economically viable for both importing and exporting of our goods and services and in tandem with Federal Government resolve to tackle the problem headlong;
“We, the Indigenous People of the Niger Delta (IPND), do hereby unequivocally declare that the opening of all Connecting Ports to the region is strategic in a bid to finding lasting peace in the region amongst other declaration which we have made for the Furtherance of the Niger Delta States and that of the Nigeria State.
“Whereas the stated seaports in the Niger Delta have been plagued by harmful government policies such as charges that are absolutely outrageous comparable with what obtains at the Lagos seaports. As well as utter lack of maintenance or outright abandonment of the said seaports by the Government of Nigeria.
“For example, with regards to the city of Sapele and the Sapele seaport, the British established a vice consulate in Sapele in 1892, and the city of Sapele grew in importance as a port city and which thereafter came under British rule in 1894 and served as a local administrative center till even very late into post Independence Nigeria.
“However, today, the city of Sapele and its historic seaport that comfortably and conveniently rivaled the seaports of Lagos is now a shadow of its former self, no thanks to deliberate and strangulating policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria which converted the Sapele seaport to a Naval Engineering Training College and/or Naval Logistic Base. Although it (NET college/Logistic base) was later ordered to be relocate to Oghara and the Sapele seaport reinstated in 2001 by the House of Representative, it has till date remained comatose.
“The endemic poverty in the region today is attributable to the deliberate economic blunder of the Federal Government of Nigeria which has engendered economic injustice to these Seaports whilst a few in Nigeria persistently got FG attention. And although attention was shifted to Oil Exploration in the area, it was done with selfish agenda to favour a few over the real owners and the Nigerian State.
“Federal Government must ensure she does justice to these seaports by ensuring all of them are reopened for services to the Region and Nigeria. Especially judging from the fact that the few whose Government skewed policies have favoured are over-congested.
“We hereby call on the Government of Nigeria to start and expedite works on the Akwa Ibom Deep Sea Ports, Delta State Gas City Project, the opening of the State Inland Water Way Terminals, including Kogi State and Benue State, the opening of the Inland Port Terminal at Onitsha- Anambra State, the Proposed Sapele-Okpe Industrial City Project which are at this time critically required to provide employments and wealth to the indigenous people of Niger Delta and Nigeria in General.
“We must state here; that the one acceptable strategy to put an end to the present crisis rocking the Niger Delta is socioeconomic empowerment.
“We call on the Government of Nigeria to commit itself to development of the Niger Delta and the creation of jobs to the youths and Militancy will naturally hide its face thereafter.
“The Use of Military tactics will stoke even greater insurrection against the state, thus, Federal government must look into these declarations critically and jump-start the needed development of the region with a view to creating a better environment for business to thrive and the resultant greater employment opportunities that will follow.
“Niger Delta was not violent abi initio, Government injurious policies and socioeconomic rape brewed militancy from nothing. Government can also stop it by going back to the roots as contained in our declarations.” The statement asserted