A Maritime Industry expert, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori has called for attitudinal change towards the development and optimisation of the nation’s Maritime endowments, stressing that a subsector that should be the backbone of Nigeria’s economy is presently lackluster.
Engr. Ilori made the observation on Saturday in Ibadan, during his investiture as Patron of the Boys Brigade, as the Methodist Boys High School clocks 60 years.
The Maritime Industry unfortunately is what we can call ‘work in progress’ for those who understand that, and know what it means, it is sad that the Maritime Industry that suppose to be the backbone of our economy is where it is today, so we need to change our attitude to the development of the maritime industry
He was particularly miffed that distribution of goods was reduced to a ‘road affair’, even as he frowned on the fact that Nigerians have forgotten that the colonial masters built Nigeria up, through utilisation of ports and rivers.
Engr Emmanuel Ilori with Hon Justice Olusanya, on Saturday in Ibadan.
“We should not forget that it’s the Maritime Industry that gave birth to this country. That is the reality, Nigeria grew out of the maritime sector; the colonial masters who came here came by boat, they started from Lagos and built this nation, not only through the ports but through the river, ports and through to Lokoja.
“That is how they were able to develop Nigeria. But, here we are today, they have relegated the Maritime Industry to the background; and that is the industry that should be the backbone as it is.
“It is not going to work until we begin to realize that this is a maritime nation and the Maritime Industry has a role to play in our industry, and in our society”, Ilori stated, calling attention to the danger of building the economy on roads, rather than on the coast.
“Take a simple thing as distribution of goods; everything has now gone to the roads.
” it’s not going to work. This country cannot rely on roads for our development. The road network is such that it’s so dangerous, it’s a death trap,.
“Meanwhile, we have the seas, the coasts, we have the Inland waterways, that can actually help us to develop, Nigeria has been turned into a road industry and there is no nation that can develop based on its roads alone,
“if you build the industry aground, the inland waterways, it’s easier logistically to move things around.
“If you think of new cities, then think of how you can develop it around the waterways.
“Look at the foreign countries where they have the waterways that we see today, properties on the waterways are the most expensive!
“Everybody wants to live near the water, but what are we doing in Nigeria?
“The industry needs to go around the waters and it’s even relatively cheaper to develop the waterways network than the money we are spending on roads; not even say the railways, the amount of cargoes we can carry within our waterways is going to be a lot better for our nation if we focus more on the development of our waterways”, the Lloyds Ambassador further explained.