Minister of Transportation, HE. Rt. Hon. Chibike Rotimi Amaechi, (3rd from right), flanked by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, and Senator Murtala Nyako during a courtesy call at his office in Abuja
The Federal Government has enlisted the support of the Nigerian Navy to identify pipelines that may hamper the building of the Bonny Deep Seaport in Rivers State.
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who made this known when the Nigerian Navy led by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, paid him a courtesy call recently in Abuja, said a place has already been chosen to build the seaport.
According to him “There’s a place we have chosen to build the seaport, we want to make sure there are no pipes in that location and en-route that location by vessels. We will be glad if they can work with us to identify where the pipes are in Bonny, so that we know where they are”, the Minister said.
The Minister also said the Ministry is prepared to work with the Nigerian Navy to achieve maritime security in the country and will be glad to assist if it is within the authority he presides over.
“If it’s something within my authority as the Minister, we proceed and approve. If it’s above the Minister, I will approach the President, so we can get the same approval”, he said.
Speaking further, Ameachi lauded the Nigerian Military for their selfless service, culminating in the safety of the citizenry and protection of the territorial integrity of the nation.
“I have very high regard for the Nigerian military, just because is a national service you are providing, it entails their lives; the sacrifice they make is what guides my relationship with the military and because of that I don’t disrespect any relationship”, the Minister said.
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, reiterated the need for on the ground presence of an effective team of the Nigerian Navy at all seaports across the nation.
“Credible intelligence has it that since we left the ports about 1996, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons into our country is scary. But again, at every importation of fertilizer making materials or explosives for mining sites, the Navy had to be invited”, the Vice Admiral said.
Also Gambo said “If NPA invites us at every opportunity to come and inspect these consignments and also ensure that they get to the destinations they are meant for and they are not diverted, then why not have us at the ports so that when the containers come in, they are not broached in the ports and subsequently after the inspection, we make sure they get to the right destination. But it has not gained the necessary traction but I have written again to see that there is need for that especially with the establishment of the Office of the National Coordinator on Small Arms and Light Weapons by the Office of the National Security Adviser”.
He equally appreciated the long standing support of the Minister, saying the launch of the Deep Blue project last year by President Muhammadu Buhari has impacted on the Navy’s ability to improve maritime security operations in Nigeria’s territorial waters.