A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has taken a swipe even as he faulted the Federal Government for neglecting Ports located in the South-South region of Nigeria, describing it as “conspiracy”.
Onuesoke who made the observation while addressing Maritime Journalists during his visit to Tin-Can Island Ports, Apapa-Lagos, on Thursday, stated that despite the heavy congestion in both Apapa Wharf and Tin-Can Island ports which had resulted in lost of revenue running into millions of Naira annually, the Federal Government is still adamant in developing other Ports in the South-South region of the country.
He alleged that the under utilization of Koko, Sapele, Oghara, Burutu, Calabar, Ogulagha, Port Harcourt, Onne and other ports located in the South-south region of the country by succeeding governments at the Federal level is a conspiracy to frustrate those in the South-south to develop economically.
“They are doing it purposely to ensure that revenue derivable from seaports is restricted to Lagos state alone whereas, other states where we have seaports remain underutilized. That is the conspiracy at play. It is a conspiracy and it is in vicious circle from government to another. No succeeding government had ever deemed it fit to develop those ports. They know the socio-economic impact a functional port will make and so they want it concentrated only in the West,” Onuesoke who was a former governorship aspirant argued.
He queried why the Federal Government want to develop Epe and Badagry ports, spend money to create inland ports in the north when Koko, Sapele, Oghara, Burutu, Calabar, Ogulagha, Port Harcourt and Onne ports among others in the South-south region that are already available naturally are underutilized,
“The action is waste of Tax payers’ fund. Development of Epe and Badagry ports will increase the congestion in Lagos which had already been over crowded. Why did the Federal Government not spend the money it wants to use to develop both Epe and Badagry ports in some of the ports in the South-south region? This will give room to equitable spread of wealth, development and create job opportunities for those in the South-south,” Onuesoke stated.
He explained that if the South-south ports were developed, it would increased business activities and increased generation of revenue hence ships that are diverted to other West-African countries’ ports because of congestions in Lagos ports would berth in Nigeria.
“It will equally relieve Lagos ports of congestion and delay in cargoes clearance. Everybody in Nigeria will be happy for it mostly Lagos. Those in Lagos mostly in Apapa, Olodi, Ajegunle,Ijora cannot move freely nowadays because of the traffic gridlock caused by congested Lagos ports”, he observed.