BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
As plans for the commencement of the Benin River Port Project reaches advanced stages after preliminary work by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured investors that the state government will not relent in strengthening security on the waterways and ensuring communal support for projects in riverine areas.
Obaseki disclosed this after a three and half hour tour of riverine communities including Gelegele, Kolokolo, Ajoke, Ajamogha, Koko, Abiala 1, Abiala 11, and Ologbo, in the state, at the weekend.
He said that the tour was in furtherance of the survey of the waterways around the state, which kicked off some weeks back and is aimed at strengthening security to protect lives and properties on the waterways.
Obaseki said that more investors are interested in the project and would want to know how the Benin River Port project will connect the Benin Industrial Park, noting that the two areas are connected by water, even as enough provision is being made for road network.
He said discussions with investors and partners about the Benin River Port has reached a critical stage where critical issues are raised and addressed, noting, “Some of the issues have to do with the actual location of the Port vis-a-vis the extent of road network to connect the Port with other facilities like the Industrial Park.”
He said, “We will not underestimate security on the waterways. Security is of prime importance to us as an administration, as we work to attract investors to the state. We will not relent in working very hard to create a conducive environment for investors to do business.”
Obaseki added, “We have decided to establish a Marine police post in Gelegele. The construction for the post will commence soon as the design is ready. We will also have another Police post at Osiomo River. That is why we are at Ologbo to look for a suitable location for the post.”
According to the governor, the state will leverage the huge economic potentials in water transportation, adding that the waterways offer the state a unique economic opportunity for transporting goods and people from one place to the other.
The spokesman for the Ologbo Ikaye Itsekiri Community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Chief Johnson Atseleghe, commended the governor for the visit, noting that it was the first time any governor would visit the area through the waterway.
Lauding the governor for the construction of Ajokin, Ologbo, Ikara Roads linking Abiala, he noted that the people of the community are desirous of development.
Atseleghe pledged that the people are willing to cooperate with the government to ensure security and peace in the community as they anticipate more developmental projects.