Ex-PANDEF Spokesman Blames Amaechi, Wike For Low Traffic In Rivers’ Sea Ports

Former National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), His Highness, Anabs Sara-Igbe, has blamed former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for low traffic being experienced at the Port Harcourt and Onne sea ports.

He said the face-off between the former Minister and the governor didn’t allow them to come together, in order to see how to divert more ships to the Eastern ports, especially the Port Harcourt and Onne ports.

Sara-Igbe, who spoke when he appeared on a live radio programme, monitored in Port Harcourt, said for a Port to function fully, the Transportation Minister, the state government and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) must be involved.

Describing the Port Harcourt Port as one of the best in the world, the former PANDEF spokesman said diverting ships to Eastern ports will reduce the payment of demurrage at the Lagos ports.

He said: “Let’s not deceive ourselves; seven years gone on the line as Minister of Transportation, he is my friend. If you are talking of Amaechi becoming governor, by the time you call one or two persons, you will call me.

“I was the person who campaigned for Amaechi, I was the person who held down Peter Odili. He is alive, Secondus (Prince Uche) is alive, Abiye Sekibo is alive. They knew the role I played in Amaechi becoming governor of Rivers State. He is not my enemy.

“I was a dock worker and those who work in the Ports know me. I read Port Administration and Shipping Management. I rose from a dock worker to Manager of a shipping company. So anything about ports, I know.
So, I know what I am talking about. I am not just talking what I don’t know.

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“For a Port to work, I will mention three persons, the governor, the minister and the Customs. These three persons must come together and I have been saying this. When the come together, they will direct NPA; who controls the ports? It is the NPA and the NPA is under the Minister of Transportation.

“You see, there are different categories of workers in the ports. We have the tariff class, we have the recording class.
When I was young, Rivers Ports used to receive 10 ships minimum in a day and other vessels waiting to come in. When one ship leaves, another one comes in. We record at least eight ships in a day, both in Port Harcourt Port and Onne Port.

“If you love your people as a governor, if you love your people as a minister, let us say the CG of Customs is from another place; why not come together and corner him and tell him what you want. Divert some of these ships to the Eastern ports so that we will not pay too much demurrage. We pay a lot of demurrage daily. There are so many ships outside Lagos waiting to berth. So, instead of paying demurrage, you can divert them to this area.

“If you talk about shallow water, Port Harcourt Port is one of the best ports. Even in London, the River Thane, where we have the London Port is not on the Atlantic Ocean. It is like the Port Harcourt Port.

“So, why can’t you sit down and think of how you can help your people, not yourself. For you to do that, there must be synergy. But when you are quarrelling, when you are fighting, how can you think of it.”

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