Saturday, December 2, 2023

Group urges Niger Delta states to domesticate ministry of marine and blue economy

He said public-private partnership was the best approach to reviving the moribund seaports, saying the time to take those steps was now.

• September 26, 2023

The Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in Niger Delta (MOSIEND) has commended the federal government for the creation of the ministry of marine and blue economy.

MOSIEND’s commendation is contained in a statement released by its national president, Kennedy Tonjo-West, on Tuesday in Yenagoa.

The group noted that the establishment of the ministry had opened the eyes of the people of Niger Delta to marine potentials of the region.

MOSIEND, therefore, called on the leadership of the Niger Delta region to replicate the federal government’s initiative by increasing its wealth creation and revenue generation profile.

He regretted that the maritime potentials of the region were yet to be harnessed.

According to him, this novel initiative will boost the nation’s dwindling economy if states in the Niger Delta region are able to think smart and explore it to their advantage.

Mr Tonjo-West said, “The Niger Delta region is richly blessed with undiscovered and untapped resources that can rapidly upscale revenue generation and economic growth.

“And we want the governors in the region not to waste any further time but to key into the federal government’s initiative.

“The opportunities in the marine and blue economy abound, hence, we should delve and explore, because across the globe, countries with littoral topography are consciously taking advantage of immense derivatives.

“This ministry at the centre is an open door to welcome yet another vista of boundless opportunities inherent in our region.

“Beyond oil and gas, Niger Delta communities are blessed,” he said.

According to him, “In this harsh economic situation, there is an urgent need for diversification and looking beyond oil and gas; the marine and blue economy is a promising outlook.”

He explained diversification to mean “when people in the upland are talking about agriculture, people in the riverine areas should be talking about the maritime activities.”

MOSIEND called on Niger Delta governors to close ranks for the purpose of cohesion and regional growth to invest massively in the marine sector, saying “this is the only way forward.”

Mr Tonjo-West said Mr Tinubu’s approach looks promising to support any smart thinking region.

According to him, “it is expedient for politicians and leaders of the Niger Delta region to work together in achieving better results in the overall interest of the people now that there is a president who has good intentions for the region.”

He said creating the ministry at the state level was also a means through which the federal government could channel funds to develop the states through these ministries in the various Niger Delta states.

According to him, separating marine from the ministry of transportation will make the states to focus on developing the potential in the maritime domain and achieve great results.

“Go to Bayelsa and other Niger Delta states, they don’t have any activity to develop the maritime sector.

“And we need to now think outside the box to change the narratives and building the seaports and revive the already existing ones.

“We are impressed with the appointment of our illustrious kinsmen and women into the federal cabinet, and we urge them to work with the governors and legislators to improve the infrastructure and well-being of the people.

“We, as MOSIEND, have, at several times, kicked against the continued concession of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Rivers State to Dangote and other users.

“It is not a wise decision as it makes no economic sense in terms of internally-generated revenue or employment opportunities when compared with when the federal government was managing it.

“NPA used to be a beehive of activities; generating huge revenue for government and creating employment for thousands of unemployed youths.

“But today, the reverse is the case. The concession of NPA to Dangote crippled the economy of Rivers.

“Look at the place, it is underdeveloped, it has become a graveyard where nothing is happening. If you see the place now, you will cry. Even the bay has become dilapidated.

“Why is Dubai thriving? Is it not because of the sea? So why are we concentrating on only Lagos State?

“Why don’t we develop the other seaports to generate revenue for the states and create employment for the masses?” Mr Tonjo-West asked rhetorically.

The MOSIEND president advocated the revival of seaports in Port-Harcourt, Warri, and Calabar and the building of the Agge deep seaport in Bayelsa and the Akwa-Ibom seaport.

He explained that the move would change the narratives in the Niger Delta, especially now that the federal government was rehabilitating Nigerian refineries to help the economy bounce back.

He said public-private partnership was the best approach to reviving the moribund seaports, saying the time to take those steps was now.


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