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FG To Upgrade Onne Port Facilities

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Facilities at the Onne Port in Rivers State, will soon be improved, including its dredging to appropriate depth, with highway and rail links.

The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar dropped the hint during a public forum on transport organised by the Rivers State Ministry of Transport at the Atlantic Hall of Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

Senator Umar said the development would bring efficient and effective port operations as well as attract increased through put.

According to him, as existing Port facilities at Onne are upgraded and expanded in response to the expected increase in economic activities within the area, Onne will become one of the major Eastern ports in shipping and other transportation activities will therefore be attracted to the Eastern corridor, of which Port Harcourt and Onne Ports in Rivers State are central”.

He disclosed that at the extra ordinary National Council on Transport meeting of 2010 in Kano, the National Transportation masterplan was unveiled and distributed to stakeholders which among other things provides for the future development of the South-Eastern Agglomeration Area, which is Port Harcourt and Onne Port to compliment and ease the congested Western Corridor.

He further disclosed that contract for the dredging of Oguta Lake, Orashi River had also been awarded to provide access to Onne Port in Rivers State and Brass in Bayelsa as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

Senator Umar said the government was also working on modalities to link the Port Harcourt Port to the Harcourt – Maiduguri rail line.

The minister, who was represented by the Director of Policy in the Ministry, Dr. Lorwuese Viashima noted that an appropriate legal and regulatory framework was being put in place through the review of existing legislations on railways, sea ports and inland waterways, and called on the states, local governments, the organised private sector and all stakeholders to collaborate and support the federal Government’s strategy.

Earlier in his address, the State Commissioner of transport, Hon George Tolofari expressed sad that the government had not recorded much success in the marine sector.

Hon. Tolofari said boats acquired by the government are still lying waste in the Naval Shipyard while other Marine facilities remained grossly under-utilised, and called on prospective investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the industry as government is willing to partner with such Investors.

The forum was attended by distinguished personalities from all walks of life as well as stakeholders.

 

Collins Barasimeye

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Maritime

Piracy: MWUN Tasks NIMASA On Security Of Inland Waters

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waterways to curb piracy and other forms of criminal activities.
The Deep Blue Project consists of Nigeria’s maritime security assets commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Despite the launch of the USD195 million maritime security assets, criminal acts have persisted in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) and the nations inland waterways, witnessing the abduction of eight persons including five maritime workers, along the Kula-Abonnema River.
Speaking on the abduction, Deputy General Secretary of MWUN, Comrade Oniha Erazua, urged NIMASA to extend the coverage of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters considering the incessant abduction of travellers along the waterways.
“It’s appalling that five of our workers were abducted suddenly. It took the intervention of some stakeholders to get them rescued eventually. Our coastal waters are essential to the economy of the country and should be secured.
“Should we now leave our inland waters insecure to the detriment of our workers? It shouldn’t be. We are begging NIMASA to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters that are prone to kidnapping and all other maritime related crimes”, he said.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

MWUN Members Relive Experiences In Kidnappers’ Den …Say They Were Fed With Garri, Flogged With Knives

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The five members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, that regained freedom from kidnappers’ den last week say they were fed with only garri and flogged with knives and sticks while in captivity. 
The MWUN members said they were fed for three out of the six days in captivity in the hands of the suspected pirates.
Narrating their ordeal to The Tide shortly after their release in Port Harcourt, the victims comprising four men and one woman said they were set free and dumped at a mangrove forest near Abonnema between 8pm and 9pm.
“The experience at the mangrove was not easy, we were beaten with knives and sticks by the pirates.
“We were fed with garri for only three days through out our six days of captivity, once in a day”, one of the victims who did not want his name mentioned said. 
 The victims, however, declined to give reasons why they were abducted by suspected gunmen on their way to Port Harcourt on a commercial boat.
It would be recalled that the five members of MWUN were kidnapped two weeks ago by suspected pirates onboard a commercial boat from Kula, near Abonnema to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting. 
The MWUN gave their names as Comrade Wisdom Iderima, Chairman, MWUN, Kula Unit; West Opubo, Secretary, MWUN, Kula, Unit; Ajenina Daniel, Vice Chairman, and Madam Clementeba Clementeba Exco officio of MWUN, Kula Unit. 
One of the abductees, Madam Clementeba said she had been kidnapped three times by pirates.
She said she had 12 boats that used to ply Kula /Abonnema routes, but had all been stolen by criminals.
She said sea robbers had carted away 10 of her speed boats for no reasons.
Clementeba called on the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the state government to assist her recover her missing boats and curb sea piracy on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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NIWA Threatens To Arrest Fishermen Defecating In Lagos Lagoon

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has threatened to arrest and prosecute any fisherman that defecates into Lagos lagoon.
This was contained in a statement by Kelvin Eba, an official of the agency working at the Liverpool area of Apapa, Lagos while warning the fishermen.
Eba said the agency would no longer tolerate the practice, but insisted that it would arrest and prosecute any culprit.
He said NIWA had set up patrol teams to arrest offenders, most of whom he described as “illiterates and drug addicts”.
He said, “Defecating into the river, lagoon and such places is classified as open defecation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can lead to the outbreak of diseases including diarrhea and others associated with ingesting and exposure to human waste”.
The Tide reports that in October 2019, Nigeria became the number one open defecation nations in the world, overtaking India. 
An estimate of 10 to 50 million Nigerians are said to be defecating in the open space.

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