There has been a lull in
Marine transportation business due to the activities and incessant attacks by sea pirates along the sea routes and creeks of Bonny, Kula in Rivers State and Brass, Nembe, Ayatoru in neighbouring Bayelsa State.
The Chairman, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Nembe waterfront unit, Comrade David Teke dropped the hint in a chat with The Tide correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Teke said passengers and even the drivers of the speedboats plying these riverine communities are always scared of being attacked, as anytime these hoodlums strike, they made away with the speed boat, properties of the passengers after disembarking them at the mangrove, while some whom they perceived as known faces were shot dead or maimed.
He said the situation had been worrisome as a result of no security gun boats along these waterways.
According to him, it would have been worst if the earlier scheduled tomorrow’s election would have taken place as most of the speedboat operators were ready to decline conveying election personnel or materials to the riverine communities for fear of being attacked by the sea pirates or political thugs.
“Although, we are going to vote for the candidate of our choice on that day, but we cannot guarantee providing speedboats for electoral exercise, except adequate security arrangement was made by the authorities and our safety assured”, Teke opined.
The Nembe unit marine transport boss disclosed that in January this year, there was an attack at kilometer 60, but the smart driver was able to meander his boat into another creek where he now called for rescue team from the base here at Nembe waterfront that went and brought them to Port Harcourt.
He disclosed that as they were coming with the displaced passengers and the boat, the sea pirates attacked them again but fortunately, no life or property was lost as they could not succeed.
The Comrade however, also hinted that one of their speedboats that was snatched away by sea pirates last year was recovered at Abonnema, and the culprits nabbed but later released by the Joint Taskforce without proper investigations.
According to him, the speedboat was later brought to Nembe waterfront and the case reported to the Police in Nembe, Bayelsa State and later transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS in Rivers State for proper action.
“My plea with the government is that they should provide adequate security operatives of the Marine Police and the Navy and equip them with sophisticated weapons to face the fire power of these bad boys,” he posited.
NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry.
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday.
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service.
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity
The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said.
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.
By: Chinedu Wosu
2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said.
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.
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