The Executive Governor, of Rivers State Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused the Federal Government of deliberately abandoning Nigeria’s Eastern Seaports of Porthacourt and Onne.
Wike, who spoke during the official opening of Alcon Nigeria Limited’s low-voltage products assembly factory in Port Harcourt, observed that deplorable state of the ports in Rivers was worrisome.
Represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry, the governor attributed the decline of industries in Port Harcourt to the weak operations at the Rivers ports.
He said, “The body language of the Federal Government suggests that the ports’ abandonment was deliberate, noting that the Lagos ports currently booming at the moment have been overburdened and manufacturers are paying exorbitantly to use them.
“Well-meaning individuals should form pressure groups to get our ports active again. The inactivity of the ports is the reason Trans Amadi area, which used to boom with industries, is no longer what it used to be.
“The NPA port, which is one of the oldest ports in Nigeria, is not what it used to be anymore. The Onne port has a free trade zone, but it has collapsed because it has been abandoned and the body language we are getting from the Federal Government seems like the abandonment is deliberate.”
In his remarks, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed, noted that for Nigerian economy to thrive again, the private and public sectors must collaborate, adding that it was the wrong decisions of Nigerians that caused most industries to leave the country.
Mansur said, “Port Harcourt is one of the key parts for Nigeria’s industrialisation process. I know that at one time, the city was booming with businesses and there is no justification why it shouldn’t come back.
“Trans Amadi used to be my route in the early 90’s when I lived here. But over the years, wrong steps were taken in the country and we lost many industries, not just in Port Harcourt but also in other parts of the country.”
The Managing Director, Alcon Nigeria Limited, Gerardo Santa, in his remarks, explained that the newly launched assembly plant was the first of its kind in the southern part of the country as well as the largest, adding that it would increase local content in the oil and gas sector as well as create new jobs and expertise in the country.
“Here, we perform the full circle of panel production, starting from design through assembly, testing, packaging and delivery. The low-voltage products assembly factory is the first one in the southern part of Nigeria and the largest in the country.
“This factory will increase enormously the local content in the oil and gas industrial sector and will effectively generate technology transfer in highly specialised sectors as well as create new jobs and expertise,” Santa added.