Last week’s sensitization seminar on how to revive Eastern Port and which was organized by Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, with the theme “The Economic Imperatives of Reviving Eastern Ports has revealed the lack of seriousness and unwillingness of the operators and stakeholders to bring the Eastern Ports out of the doldrums so as to boost its potentials.
The management of NPA, Eastern Zone were virtually absent, while Rivers Ports only had a representative of the Port Manager, Mr. Dele Alabi in attendance. Similarly, the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio, who was expected as the Special Guest of Honour, as well as Chief Anthony Anenih, Chairman, NPA Board, and Mallam Abdusalam Mohammed, Managing Director, NPA who were slated as Chairman of the occasion and special guests respectively were all conspicuously absent.
The same applies to the Executive Governor of Rivers State Chief Chibuike Amaechi who was expected as the chief host,
Expressing dismay at the low turn out, chairman publicity committee of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, Prince Olayiwola Shittu said: “I am highly disappointed about attendance here. ANLCA told me they were not officially informed”.
Similarly Ray Ugochukwu, Chairman, Seminar Committee did not fail to also express his disappointment at the turn out. “I am not happy with the turn – out especially with NPA management. It seems sympathizers are crying more than the bereaved. It seems they do not appreciate the efforts been put in by others stakeholders to see to the revival of the Eastern Ports”. He however promised that they will not relent in their efforts to see that the ports come alive again”.
Despite the low turn out, the Seminar was very enriching and quite beneficial as different speakers presented various papers on various subjects relating to the maritime industry.
In his welcome address, president of Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria, (MARAN), Adeleye Ajayi recalled that a similar seminar was organized by the association in 1998, but 11yrs after, the situation got worst as far as patronage of the Eastern Ports was concerned. He commended the Federal Government for embarking on the dredging of the River Niger and the Calabar River Channels, because such dredging would open up the nation’s water channels for smooth navigation and boost ship traffic.
He used the opportunity to call on the Federal Government to embark on immediate repairs of access roads to states hosting the eastern ports, even as he wants the issue of congestion to ease – off in Lagos Ports. “It is our ultimate hope that the Lagos Ports would be relieved of congestion if the Eastern ports are eventually revived,” he concluded.