Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson says his administration will award the contract for the Agge deep seaport, which is one of the most ambitious and capital intensive projects, under his watch next month.
The governor, who disclosed this in his remarks at the October, 2018 edition of the State’s monthly Praise Night at the King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa, stated that, the project is part of his administration’s decision to double its strategic developmental efforts in a bid to move the state to greater heights.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as stressing that, despite having just 14 months left of his term in office, he will remain committed to developing of the State by awarding the Agge Deep Seaport contract this year.
Dickson, who disclosed that the state is developing housing estates, with over 1,500 plots of land at the Government Reserved Area, to be allotted to prospective buyers, noted that Bayelsa is on the verge of an infrastructural breakthrough.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the governor charged politicians to go about their campaigns peacefully and to shun all forms of violence.
He also expressed concern over the devastating effects of flood on Bayelsans, especially those that have been displaced from their homes and communities, assuring them of the government’s continued support, as they prepare to return and resettle.
He used the occasion to renew his call for the restructuring of the country to enable states and the various ethnic nationalities benefit maximally from their resources.
His words: “Next one week I will be awarding the contracts of your seaport at Agge, you people have not seen anything yet.
“These remaining 14 months, what you will see will marvel all of you, for those of you who does not have houses, paying expensive house rents, get ready to own houses of your own in this our Bayelsa because, unknown to you we are developing housing estates.
“For those who do not want to have problems buying lands whose titles and history they do not know, we have started a process of giving lands, our own planned GRA of close to 1,500 and more plots.
“I also want to share my concern, support and solidarity with all our people whose homes have been taken over by the devastating flood because of the peculiar environment and that is why I keep making a case on your behalf that the resources that comes from this place, the Federal Government should use for your development and wellbeing”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Christian Pilgrimage Welfare Board, Arch Bishop Israel Ige, who delivered a sermon titled, “The Buts That Troubles Your Destiny”, said the buts in one’s life can hinder an individual from fulfilling his destiny.
He lauded the Governor Dickson for his interest in the spiritual wellbeing of the people and the state, through the implementation of the monthly Praise Night.
Boat Owners’ Strike Paralyses Rivers Communities
Socio-economic activities in three riverine communities of Rivers State have suffered a setback, as commercial boat owners and drivers embarked on a three-day warning strike to protest frequent acts of insecurity on the waterways.
The affected communities are Bille, Bonny and Bakana.
Recall that two passenger boats were attacked last Saturday and three persons killed by suspected sea pirates along Port Harcourt/Bille routes, causing panic among boat drivers and travellers.
Our correspondent reports that the warning strike which began on Wednesday, had caused passengers to be stranded at the various jetties across the state, as boat owners and drivers shut down operations.
The affected jetties include, Bille, Abonnema Wharf, Nembe and Okirika.
The Tide also reports that business activities in the affected areas suffered a setback as boats which were supposed to convey foodstuffs to the communities were disallowed to load.
Condemning the pirates attacks on passengers, Chairman, Boat Owners Association, Okirika Branch, Mr. George Ota, said his branch embarked on a two-hour strike on Wednesday as a mark of solidarity with Billie and Bonny Boat Owners Association whose boats were attacked by sea robbers.
Ota, who called on the security agencies to beef up security along the affected routes, said maritime operators were regularly attacked by the robbers and valuables carted away.
The chairman said its sister branches had embarked on a three-day strike to register their grievances over the attacks.
He noted that goods and property valued at millions of naira were carted away by robbers during the attack without the Navy and the marine police effecting any arrest.
Ota said that drivers and passengers plying the aforementioned routes were in constant fear while travelling on the waterways.
Also speaking, a stranded passenger, Mr. Jumbo Yellow, called on the state government to deploy gunboats to patrol the creeks and rivers in the riverine communities to protect lives and property.
He said, “Our lives are now in danger, we called on the state government to come to our rescue, especially those travelling to Billie, Bonny, Bakana and Okirika axis by boat.”
The Tide reports that pregnant mothers and their children were seen stranded at Okirika jetty from 9am to 11am on Wednesday as boat owners shut down operations at the jetty.
Pirates Abduct 13 Seafarers In Togo, Benin
No fewer than 13 seafarers have been kidnapped by rampaging pirates off the coast of Cotonou, Benin Republic and coast of Lome, Togo.
This is as pirates attacked three passenger boats along the Billie waterways in Rivers State, killing two persons and injured others who were heading for a wedding ceremony in the Kalabari community, last Saturday.
The Tide reliably learnt that nine of the seafarers were kidnapped off Cotonou on a Norwegian-flagged ship codenamed MV Bonita, last Saturday, while four were kidnapped on Monday aboard a Greek oil tanker, named Elka Aristotle off Lome.
The Norwegian ship owner, J.J. Ugland, in a terse statement on Sunday, said that, ”The Ugland Emergency Response Team are handling this situation as per contingency plans, and they are in contact with relevant authorities. The families of the crew members have been contacted and will be kept informed by Ugland.”
Although the Norwegian ship owner declined making the identities of the crew members and their nationalities public due to security reasons, he said, the ship was carrying a cargo of gypsum, a mineral commonly used as fertilizer.
With regard to the abduction on the Greek tanker, authorities said the four kidnapped crew members include two Filipinos, one Greek and one Georgian.
One security guard was also reportedly shot and wounded in the attack.
The Greek authorities in a statement said, “On Monday, 4th of November 2019, around 0300, the tanker boat Elka Aristotle was attacked around 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the port of Lome by armed individuals,”
The vessel’s manager, European Product Carriers Ltd, confirmed the early morning attack, without providing further details.
Greece’s shipping ministry said it was “closely monitoring the issue.”
The Tide learnt that armed guards were present on the Greek boat and tried to fight off the attackers, but one was wounded.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said while piracy has reduced worldwide, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea was a high-risk area for abductions and armed robbery.
LASWA Partners LAWMA, Others To Boost Safety On Waterways
The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) is collaborating with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and relevant ministries to ensure the waterways are clean of dirt and hyacinth to enhance safety.
The General Manager of LASWA, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, made this known to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said that the authority was committed to making the waterways safe for navigation by boat operators.
“The effort at making the waterways clean and safe for navigation has been boosted with the recent collaborative support from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development and LAWMA.
“These ministries and the sister agency (LAWMA) have joined efforts with LASWA to get rid of water hyacinth and other waste from the Lagos waterways so as to enable smooth navigation for boats.
“LASWA is currently pegging the water channels at Ijede Jetty to prevent the water hyacinth from covering the boat routes, while clearing of the weed is also ongoing at Bariga Jetty.
“Continuous clearing of the water hyacinth is also ongoing at Ikorodu Terminal, using both manual labour and weed harvesting machines to combat the menace,’’ Emmanuel said.
He noted that preparations were in top gear for the water hyacinth recycling initiative.
According to him, in the initiative, rural women will be trained in vocational skills on how to convert the harvested weeds into handcrafted materials for economic benefits.
News4 days ago
Minimum Wage Circular Ready, Labour Confirms
News4 days ago
Presidency Flays N-Power Beneficiaries’ Truancy
Featured4 days ago
2019/2020 Legal Year: Wike Berates NBA’s Involvement In Politics
News4 days ago
Shorts, Trousers Saga: CAN Kicks As NYSC Expels Corps Members
News1 day ago
Hope Rises For S’East, S’South Importers, Exporters
Features4 days ago
Fishing Out The Ritualists
News4 days ago
OPC, Hausa’s Clash Claims One Life In Lagos
Oil & Energy4 days ago
Ken Saro-Wiwa And Oil Politics In Nigeria