Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Senate wednesday called for the utilisation of seaports in the South-south geo-political zone and other parts of the country in order to curb the perennial issue of congestion at the Lagos seaport.
It said the non-utilisation of seaports in the South-south engendered congestion at the Lagos seaport.
Speaking during an oversight visit to the Headquarters of the Nigerian Navy in Abuja, Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator George Sekibo tasked the Navy to replicate the improved security in Lagos Port in other ports within the South-south in order to decongest the Lagos port.
He said the development had caused untold hardship to owners of goods who usually find it difficult to get their goods out of the area.
“You will all recall that among all the ports in Nigeria, Lagos Port seems to be a little bit free of attack, piracy and so on. But other ports in the South-south, including the one in Calabar, the one in Port-Harcourt and the one in Warri are not being effectively utilised thereby sending vessel owners to Lagos Port, thus causing congestion there.
“Often times, owners of goods don’t get their goods as and when they should because of the congestion there. We believe that if the security programmes you do in the Lagos Seaport is also transferred to other seaports in the country, it will enhance businesses in the country,” he said.
On budgetary allocation to the Navy, Senator Sekibo, who lad members of the Senate Committee on Navy to the Naval headquarters, regretted that allocation to the service was grossly inadequate and promised that the Senate would work towards increasing the 2021 budget. “We will ensure more funds are allocated to the Nigerian Navy in subsequent budget. Even though you may not have the best to work with, we believe that you are doing your best,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ekwe Ibas, rolled out the scorecard of the service since his assumption of office particularly in the outgoing year.
He appealed for funding for the Nigerian Navy to carry out its constitutional mandate effectively.
“Nigerian Navy remains ready and capable of doing much more if availed the necessary platforms and materials. The service continues to count on the tireless support of the Senate Committee on Navy as partner towards emplacing the navy that will optimally meet the collective aspiration of our great nation,” he said.