The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has warned the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to rescind its plan to divert the Floating Dock that was to be situated at Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The warning was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an expanded National Executive Committee Meeting of the Forum held at Benin City, Edo State.
The original conception and design of the floating dock as approved by the former NIMASA Management led by the then Director-General, Patrick Akpobolokemi, shows that it was meant to be taken to Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta state, in the belief that it would help boost the country’s ship repair capacity, generate wealth and create employment for Nigerians.
It was also targeted to serve as a training facility for the students of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko and other maritime institutions in the country.
However, NIMASA’s Executive Director, Operations, Rotimi Fashakin, had said insecurity in the Niger Delta region made it difficult for the agency to berth the dock at Okerenkoko as originally designed, keeping the facility idle at the Naval dockyard, pending when the agency would get a permanent location to operate it.
In the communiqué which was signed by its National Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), PANDEF described the plan as another attempt to further deny the region of the needed economic boost and the critical training component in support of the Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko.
The group further rejected outrightly, plans by the federal government to establish nuclear reactor plants in the Niger Delta.
It decried the poor state of critical infrastructure in the Niger Delta region, particularly roads, and thus calls on the Federal and State governments to take urgent steps to address the dearth of infrastructure in the region especially the completion of all sections of the East-West road as well as the commencement of work on the Coastal road and railway from Lagos to Calabar.
The communiqué read; “PANDEF restates its commitment to engage with all critical stakeholders of the region, irrespective of political inclination, in its efforts to foster unity, lasting peace, security and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region for the benefit of present and future generations. We maintain our earlier position on the establishment of the South West joint Security Initiative, AMOTEKUN, and further, commend the governors and people of the South West region for their resolute stand on the Initiative.
“We urge the South-South Governors to as a matter of urgency meet and organize a similar regional Security and Development initiative, as the whole of the Niger Delta region is under existential threat. We are ready with a regional security blueprint and will submit same to the governors when they meet.”
The Forum further maintained its position on the need for restructuring, calling on the Federal Government to urgently begin a constructive dialogue process on the issue to guarantee harmonious and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.