The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli Emiko, has appealed to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to facilitate the effective utilisation of the Warri Port and the Koko Port with a view to reviving the economic activities in these areas.
The traditional ruler made this known when the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside l,ed a delegation of the management of the Agency to pay homage to the first class chief at his palace in Warri while on a tour of NIMASA operations in the Central Zone.
The Olu of Warri, who noted that the Delta ports were once the drivers of the Warri economy decried their abandonment.
He noted that the ports could be very attractive given the quantum of oil and gas activities in the area but regretted they had been abandoned by various administrations.
According to him, "there is no reason why vessels should go to Lagos and wait for weeks to discharge their cargo when the Warri and Koko ports stay without any economic activity. I therefore want to appeal to you to use your office and facilitate the proper engagement of these ports for the economic benefit of the region and the country at large".
Describing Dr. Dakuku Peterside as a focused, committed and visionary leader, the Olu of Warri expressed confidence in his ability to bring about the needed change that will restore the ports of Warri and Koko to their pride of place.
The paramount ruler also observed that a lot of youths, who were into militancy would have been duly engaged and denounced the vice if the ports were operating optimally.
Earlier in his address, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Peterside, explained that the NIMASA delegation was in the Olu's Palace to pay homage as one of the foremost traditional rulers in the country.
Dr. Peterside also told the Ogiame and his council of chiefs that the Agency was liaising with the appropriate authorities to facilitate the dredging of the channels in Warri ports to attract more business to the area.
"We are fighting piracy so that more vessels can call at Warri Port. We are making a case for the dredging of the Warri channel so that more vessels can berth at the port. We are also working very hard to make Warri the centre of NIMASA operations so that more activities will take place here", the DG said.
He assured the Olu of Warri that the Management of NIMASA was committed to improving the fortunes of the Nigerian maritime industry to make it a viable alternative to oil and that no segment of Nigeria's maritime environment would be left out.
Peterside visited the Cabotage Enforcement Office in Sapele, the floating dock berthed at the Naval Base in Sapele, the Search and Rescue Base clinic, Maritime Safety office, Maritime Labour office and the Central Zonal Office all in Warri as part of his working visit to the operational offices of the Agency.