An advocacy support group known as the Niger Delta Support Group NIDSG has challenged the federal government on the underutilization of seaports located in the Niger Delta region while the Lagos seaports are congested and overstretched.
The Niger Delta boasts of about five sea and rivers ports located in Warri, Koko, Port Harcourt, Onne, and Calabar. Sadly all these ports are left to rot away due to non-usage while the Lagos ports are overused to the point of becoming congested and overstretched.
The group, therefore, said they suspect conspiracy from the top to frustrate the existing ports in the Niger Delta in order to project Lagos ports as the only viable ports for cargo vessels in Nigeria.
Calabar Port, Cross River State
A statement released by the group and read by its leader Vincent Udume Odogbor states “we worry whether there is a high-level conspiracy to deliberately undermine and sabotage port activities in the Niger Delta thereby projecting Lagos as the only viable port for cargo vessels.
The call for the optimal utilization of other existing seaports in the Niger Delta is for the good of the entire country as it would reduce the cumbersome process of clearing goods that takes several weeks in Lagos as a result of congestion of Lagos ports and the attendant gridlock.
Continuing, Odogbor said “the opening of other seaports beside the creation of employment in states they are located also will reduce the cost of transportation of goods from Lagos to every part of the country.
Studies have shown among others, excessive unemployment in the region is the main causal factor of youth unrest and militancy in the region. It is therefore unthinkable that seaports in the region will continue to remain dysfunctional while Lagos ports are overstretched.
“This is a classic example of a regional and citizenship inequality which remains the bane our political existence as a nation and it can’t be allowed to continue anymore, he stressed