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Provost calls for completion of Rivers Benue, Niger dredging project

Posted on October 25, 2023

The Provost of the National Defence College, Prof. Ahmed Okene, has called for the completion of the dredging of Rivers Benue and Niger to activate the potential of Nigeria’s marine economy.

Okene made the call at the unveiling of the book, titled “Building Seaborne Trade Logistics”, authored by Dr Yekini Salawu in Abuja on Tuesday.

Represented by a Senior Research Fellow in the college, Dr Kabir Abarkaka, Okene said it was unfortunate that the dredging of the Rivers Niger and Benue had not seen the light of the day.

The provost said Rivers Niger and Benue had the capacity to diversify the economy of Nigeria from oil and gas.

He said some of the equipment required to fully activate the Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi, must come in through water.

Okene said there was a value chain lying fallow, stressing the need to actualise the potentials of the marine economy to diversify the economy.

“Nigeria has no business being poor and underdeveloped, because multidimensional poverty is not supposed to be our portion; it is just because we have been unable to tap these enormous resources.

“Even if the Rivers Niger and Benue conferencing in Kogi is the only asset we have in this country, it is enough to sustain the economy of this country, from fishery, transportation, aqua culture, entertainment, tourism and agriculture and so on, waiting to be tapped.”

Okene said he had faith in the government, the potential and leadership of the country, urging President Bola Tinubu to give priority to the marine and blue economy sector.

In his remarks, the author of the book, Dr Yekini Salawu, said there was no other time to unveil the book in the country as the book was available and being put to use globally.

He added that the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was timely and could bring Nigeria out of its economic doldrums.

“I am glad to present this book as a contribution toward best logistics coordination for the marine and blue economy.

“My over two decades experience in logistics coordination and research in the field which is not limited to this book, has inspired me to contribute to the national economy,” he said.

The book reviewer, Prof. Abdulganiyu Sumaila, said that the book had seven chapters, spanning over 194 pages.

He said chapter one discusses the evolution of International trade and logistics services; the second chapter exposes readers to the underlying conceptual theoretical issues which, of course, are germane to the understanding of seaborne trade logistics, while chapter three focuses on International trade facilitation, especially in administration and documentation.

The professor said that chapter four places special focus on Nigeria and Nigerians international trade relations.

He said it discusses the impact of seaborne trade logistics on the growth and development of Nigerians and in the last chapter, it made recommendations which will maximise marine potential.

In his remarks, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. Nuhu Yakubu, said the move to tap into the potential marine and blue sector was coming so late after independence.

He said that it was very likely that the President Bola Tinubu’s administration was going to create a new Nigeria in line with the expectations of Nigerians.

Yakubu expressed confidence that developmental economic decisions that had not been made in the past would be made under Tinubu.

“The time has come in the development of this country that everyone of us will have to get ready to see that this country is led to its destination.

“Every day we say that Nigeria has potentials and I think we have come to the stage where we need to go beyond potentials.

“I am quite hopeful that the present administration will take Nigeria out of its slums to an enviable position that it should occupy in the world,” he said, adding “this is a step in the right direction in achieving the ambition of Nigeria to become great again. (NAN)


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