Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
The Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, (MOSIEND) has advised governors of the Niger Delta Region to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in their respective states.
MOSIEND said that following the footsteps of the Federal Government will increase wealth creation and revenue generation.
MOSIEND, in a statement by its National President, Mr Kennedy Tonjo-West, noted that the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy opened the eyes of the people of the Niger Delta to the marine potentials of the region.
MOSIEND regretted that the maritime potentials were yet to be harnessed and that this novel idea will boost the nation’s dwindling economy in the nearest future if states in the Niger Delta are able to think smart and explore it to their advantage.
Tonjo-West stated that: “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 not to waste any time further.
“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. The truth is, beyond oil and gas, Niger Delta communities are blessed so 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 that diversification is when people in the upland are talking about agriculture, and people in the riverine should be talking about 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 because this is the only way forward.
Tonjo-West said President Bola Tinubu’s approach looks promising to support any smart thinking region, and it is expedient for politicians and leaders of the Niger Delta to work together in achieving better results in the overall interest of the people of the region now that there is a president who has good intentions for the region.
He said creating the ministry at the state level is also a means through which the federal government can channel funds to develop the states through these ministries in the various Niger Delta states.
According to him, separating the Marine from the Ministry of Transportation will make the states 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 reviving the already existing ones are the only way forward.
“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 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 State.
“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?” Tonjo-West stated
The MOSIEND president said reviving NPA Port Harcourt, Warri Port, Calabar seaport and building the Agge deep seaport in Bayelsa and the Akwa-Ibom seaport will change the narratives in the Niger Delta, especially now that the federal government is rehabilitating Nigerian refineries to help the economy bounce back.
He said a Public, Private Partnership (PPP) would be the best approach to reviving the seaports in order not to waste any more time.