Hope is rising for the realization of the Benin River Port project in Edo State, as Governor Godwin Obaseki has delivered on key security structures such as a functional marine police base, gunboats and accommodation for security personnel, which are key to the development of the port in the area.
The development of the Benin River Port has dominated discourse since the campaigns for the 2020 governorship election in Edo started, with the opposition claiming that the governor has abandoned the project.
The governor has however continued to insist that the process of developing a port is complex, requiring several layers of actions and value chain activities that create the right environment for port operations.
Beside the dualisation of Ekehuan Road, which is the main road to the port, the state has just completed the siting of the marine police base with full complement of infrastructure to enable them secure the environment when the contractors for the port development, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) commence mechanical work on the site.
Speaking during his inspection of the Marine Police Base, Governor Obaseki said the eight gun boats, marine police post and accommodation for security personnel, among other projects executed by the state government, would prepare the ground for the take-off of the port project and check criminality and insecurity in the riverine community of Gelegele and environs, in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state.
The governor who was accompanied by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, said the facility tour was part of his reelection campaign programme in the local government area.
Addressing journalists in Gelegele, Obaseki said, “We are here to assess the security investment we have made in Gelegele Community. You can see that we have built a Marine Police Post and accommodation for the Marine Police establishment here.
“This is a very porous waterway that leads to Ondo State and the rest of the Niger Delta. It is important we secure the community against pirates and kidnappers.
“In addition to the investment made for the Nigeria Police in terms of building an accommodation and a police station, we have also bought four gun boats and four ancillary patrol boats. We have eight gun boats, which the state government invested in for the police to secure this axis.
“We are working hard on improving the lives and social welfare of the people in this environment. We are reconstructing roads and other infrastructural facilities because without access roads, the cost of living will be high for the people.
“By the time we finish the construction of Ekehuan Road, which is a dual carriage way that will extend to the Benin River Port, the living conditions of the people in this area will have changed radically. My prediction is that in another three years when you will come here, you will not recognise what you will see.”