By Jeremiah Urowayino
The Niger Delta support group (NIDSG )has demanded an explanation from the Federal Government on the state of seaports in the region, saying that they want to know why the seaports are not functioning like that of Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos.
NIDSG in a statement signed by its Convener Vincent Udume Odogbor, stated that “We worry whether there is a high-level conspiracy to deliberately undermine and sabotage port activities in the Niger Delta and thereby projecting Lagos as the only viable port for cargo vessels. Otherwise, the call for the optimal utilization of other existing seaports in the Niger Delta is for the good of the entire country as it will reduce the cumbersome process of clearing goods that takes several weeks in Lagos as a result of the congestion of Lagos ports and the attendant traffic gridlock.
The statement reads in part, “The opening of other seaports besides the creation of employment in states they are located also will reduce the cost of transportation of goods from Lagos to every part of the country. Studies have shown that amongst others, excessive unemployment in the region is the main causal factor of youth unrest and militancy in the region.
“It is therefore unthinkable that seaports in the region will continue to remain dysfunctional while Lagos ports are overstretched. This is a classic example of the regional and citizenship inequality which remains the bane of our political existence as Nigeria and it can’t be allowed to continue anymore.
“Nigeria should belong equally to everyone who is a Nigerian and everyone should be treated equally as such.
“We want the country restructured immediately to avail every region the right to resource control and self-development rather living at the mercy of a bogus federal government.
“We demand state police to provide adequate community safety and protection of lives as nobody can protect our property and lives well than us. We can’t continue to expect police protection from a Federal Government that cannot police its federal capital.
“We urge all politicians paying lip-service to restructure in their bid for the 2019 elections to stop their antics forthwith and engage the region seriously on restructuring. The Niger Delta people are intellectuals, entrepreneurs, professionals in different fields who can harness economic resources if the principles of true fiscal federalism are practiced as should be the case in a federal state like Nigeria.
“As a group, we are unrelenting in our pursuit to see that our seaports and other related issues raised are attended to and we shall continue to engage every legal and political means available to us to tackle these challenges head-on. There is nothing more demeaning than being a second class citizen in your own country, and there is nothing more provocative as not being able to have access to and control of your own resources while everyone else has a field day”.