The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, to relocate the oil pipelines which pass through the Warri bar in Delta State.

The call followed the House’s adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, on the ‘need to revisit the dredging of the Escravos Bar, Warri, Koko and Sapele Ports’.

Hon. Ereyitomi while moving the motion during House Plenary noted that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) dredged the Escravos channel in Delta State in 2018 and was reportedly not dredged beyond a depth of 7.5 meters due to the presence of oil pipelines belonging to the NNPC.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that due to the high rate of siltation, the depth of the Escravos bar has drastically reduced to approximately 3.9 meters; saying that the Warri, Koko, and Sapele ports have still not recorded improved traffic from high-tonnage vessels carrying petrol and other commodities, and as such, vessels need to wait for high tides or risk running aground.

“We are worried that in a bid to avoid paying demurrage, most petrol-carrying vessels which ventured into the Escravos bar in recent times have suffered damages.

“We are also worried that most maritime businesses have either crumbled or been relocated to the already crowded and overstretched Lagos Ports, which has had negative impacts on the economy of Delta State and Nigeria.

“Also, we have taken cognizance of the capacity of the Warri, Koko and Sapele ports to create employment opportunities and curb youth restiveness and other social vices within Delta State, the Niger Delta region and Nigeria when functioning at full capacity,” Hon. Ereyitomi said.

The House therefore asked the federal government to dredge the Escravos bar beyond 7.5 meters depth to improve the traffic of high tonnage vessels, and mandated its Committee on Ports and Harbour to ensure compliance.

By Sunday Elom

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