The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) chapter of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has again charged the Federal Government to dredge the Warri and Calabar seaports to create jobs and check youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
Its President, Comrade Ifeanyi Mazeli gave charge during a chat with journalists in Lagos. Mazeli noted that the seaports in Warri, Delta State and Calabar, Cross River State were capable of creating millions of direct and indirect jobs for young people in the region.
He said youth restiveness and militancy were increasing in region due to lack of engagement by the states and Federal governments, adding that the maritime sector could provide the needed employment for the youths if properly harnessed.
“Warri, Sapele and Koko ports have what it takes to provide massive job opportunities for Nigerian. We can address issues of militancy and youth unrest in the region if government listens and dredge those ports.”
“The maritime industry can absorb millions of jobs, but the shallow draft of the ports have made vessels to call very low and it is a major problem for the region,” he stated.
Speaking on the dilapidated roads, Mazeli also lamented that potential importers from the eastern part of the country were suppose to patronise the Delta and Calabar seaports due to their proximity to them, but added that the channels were not navigable for bigger ships to sail through the region.
He decried the longer duration of cargoes from Lagos to Aba, Onitsha and its environs adding that consignments can leave the eastern seaports to the aforementioned region in few hours.
“Unlike from Lagos to Aba or Onitsha where trucks and cargoes can spend close to two or four days before getting to their owners warehouses, consignments from the Warri and Calabar seaports can only take between three or four hours to deliver,” he stressed.