By Eseoghene Emuke
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has threatened that the Federal Government will revoke the newly approved seaport in Pessu/Aladja area of Warri in Delta State if youths from the area disturb construction works at the proposed site of the project.
Amaechi, a former Rivers State governor, gave the warning while speaking at the palace of the Ovie of Uvwie, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Sideso, Abe 1, in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State last week.
The minister was among dignitaries that accompanied the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Chief Festus Keyamo (SAN), when the people of Uvwie Kingdom welcomed him to a grand reception following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Keyamo hails from Effurun area of the council and he is a traditional title holder in the kingdom.
Amaechi, addressing guests and people of the area at the ceremony, appealed for the support of the people of the area particularly the host communities to see the project to its fruition rather than disturb construction work at the site.
It disclosed that the project had been approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government at the cost of $800 million.
According to him, “A brand new seaport in Pessu near Aladja in Delta State. The seaport we are going to build will cost $800 million. When you go and stop them (contractors) from working, you are losing $800 million. If not for anything else, most of you here are contractors, if don’t supply anything, you will supply sand, cement and others.
“Then, why call to collect N20 million when the entire community can collect hundreds of millions by being contractors? Don’t go to there and say if not us; don’t give contract to others because we (FG) will pull out. Don’t forget that water is not only in Delta.
“We are about to start work in Bonny Seaport. That one is $1.2 billion. If you worry us, we’ll stop. The number of commodities we need to transport between Lagos and Port Harcourt and Bonny will be enough. What we need to do is to say all vessels stop plying Warri. You won’t kill us.
“The best thing to do is to allow development. Imagine the companies that were here in Warri but had left? Imagine the number of persons that would have employed? Imagine the number of contracts they would given to our people? But now that they have ran away, kidnapping and crimes have become the sources of livelihood.
“If you have left them, a good number of us here would have been employed. Some of us would have been contractors but now they are gone. You know where they went to? Lagos! So, they go by plane to the high seas, finished and go back to Lagos with helicopters. Who loses?”
He called on traditional rulers in the Niger Delta region to caution their subjects to stay away from crime, adding that the Federal Government will not hesitate to move projects from where the contractors are faced with disturbance from the local populace.
On the Itakpe/Aladja railway, the minister of transportation said construction of train stations were near completion but warned that train would stop plying the route if their properties were vandalized and stolen by locals.
“Your Majesties, the Itakpe/Aladja train is 350kms. So far, it is the longest in Nigeria. It’s when we complete Ibadan to Kano that Lagos to Kano will be the longest but for now Itakpe to Aladja is to the longest.
When I came as a minister, it was abandoned. People were scared and there were no stations. We are about to complete the stations. I asked them to put stations. If they steal generators and others at the stations, we would stop plying and pull out.
“Your Majesties, it is important we tell our people to leave crime and allow development to come. I have just told you that the contract to build the Pessu Seaport is $800 million, if the people can get one million dollars by way of contract, we are rich”, Amaechi added.
While congratulating Keyamo on his appointment and reception by his kinsmen, the former Rivers State governor urged youths in the region to emulate Keyamo and be hardworking, stating that crime does not pay.
He noted that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment earned his appointment.
Amaechi added, “Let me congratulate my friend, Festus Keyamo (SAN) on his appointment as minister, and to tell him that he earned it. As a young man, he started at the chambers of Dr Gani Fawehinmi and came to limelight.
“When I was asked to make nomination for the position of Director of Communication and Spokesman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation…he became the director and the president’s spokesman in the campaign. He earned it.
“If we all work hard, we will earn our places. There’s no magic about growing. There’s no magic. I am not joking. Don’t pray alone. It’s prayer and hardwork. At 34, I became speaker, at 42, I became governor, and 50, minister. If I stayed home and started kidnapping, will I be all that?”