A body which calls itself ‘the Save Niger Delta Group’ has threatened to lead a massive protest that would shut down the head office of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos, over refusal to relocate the modular floating dockyard to the Niger Delta.
Recall that the multi-million-dollar modular floating dock that was acquired by NIMASA since June 11, 2018 is currently lying idle in Lagos.
The floating dock, which was acquired by the former Director General of NIMASA; Dakuku PetersidEe was expected to serve as maintenance base for visiting vessels and those domiciled in the country, with aspirations to save about US$100m yearly in capital flight; generate employment and also boost local capacity. Unfortunately, stakeholders said these aspirations have become a mirage, owing to improper planning.
Following the long delay, the Save Niger Delta Group has threatened to shut down NIMASA stating that the floating dockyard acquired at a cost of N50billion, was proposed for Okerenkoko in Delta State, owing to the presence of the Nigerian Maritime University, regretting that the dockyard has remained idle since it arrived the country in 2018.
Spokesman of the group, James Ebimene, in a statement titled, ‘Mother of all protests to rock NIMASA head office over FG’s refusal to relocate Floating Dockyard to Delta’, noted that the floating dockyard’s proposed location has been Okerenkoko in Delta State.
Ebimene regretted that the multi-million dollar floating dock, bought with taxpayers’ money, was currently lying idle in Lagos, with the cost of maintenance estimated at about $30,000 daily.
He called on the Federal Government to urgently relocate the floating dockyard from Lagos, where it had been lying unused, to the Niger Delta, without further delays
“The intention of NIMASA, as at the time the floating dock was acquired, was to deploy it to Okerenkoko in Delta State, but they changed the plan and put it on security challenges in the region, the agency decided to situate it in Lagos.
“The dock was planned in the Niger Delta, to open up the region and make it more viable, including the employment that it will generate and training on shipbuilding processes and the benefits of the dock to the region would be immeasurable considering the Nigerian Maritime University in Delta.
“Without further delay, Federal Government should relocate the mega dock specifically designed for the region from Lagos waters, where it had been lying unused, to the Niger Delta.
“We have mobilized all our members across the Niger Delta states to storm NIMASA headquarters in Lagos for a peaceful protest by the end of this month. Enough is enough.
“The location of the dry dock in Lagos waters is contrary to the initial approval by the Federal Government for its location in Delta.
“So, we have mobilized youths and women to relocate to Lagos by the end of this month (September 30) to demand that the dry dock should be moved permanently, installed and commissioned in Delta, considering the contributions of the region to the nation’s economy,” the statement reads.”
A source at the Naval dockyard who pleaded anonymity, confirmed to our correspondent that the floating dock is already out of class, and that is why NIMASA cannot put the floating dock to use. He alleged that the NIMASA N50 billion floating dock can no longer meet the demands of ship owners of today and as such cannot be put to use.
In his words: “I think NIMASA is just afraid to tell Nigerians that the floating dock they acquired for N50 billion and was not used to dry dock a single vessel was already out of class.
“That floating dock that I see there can no longer meet the demand of ship owners, it is out of class, I mean if it is not so, why is it so difficult to put it to work, we like wasting resources in this country and a whooping N50 billion has just being wasted, it’s a pity and I weep for our country”, he said.
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