For promoting peace, Warri Port empowers Ijaw, Itsekiri people
The current peaceful and secure ambience in Ijaw and Itsekiri communities around Delta Ports in Warri has earned the two ethnic groups 12 industrial sewing machines.
The 12 newly-acquired industrial sewing machines were handed over to 12 indigent female beneficiaries; six from Ogbe-Ijoh and six from Itsekiri.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the gesture was part of Warri Port’s community relations to complement the corporate social responsibility of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headquarters in Lagos.
Manager, Delta Ports, Warri, Mr S. O. Okeke, while handing over the brand new tools, said the 12 beneficiaries were meticulously nominated by the Ogbe-Ijoh Governing Council and the Ugbo-Mefa Itsekiri Host Community without any external influence.
Okeke affirmed that the gesture was propelled by the peace pervading the length and breadth of Warri Port’s area of responsibility with Ijaw and Itsekiri as host communities, calling for the removal stereotype of insecurity attached to Warri as peace and security have fully returned.
“I remember when the dredging of the Excravos channel was being contemplated. There was apprehension by the Federal Government, the NPA and the Delta State government but with the intervention of communities, we were sure that we had no cause to be afraid,” he noted.
Okeke expressed gratitude to the royal families of Ogbe-Ijoh and Itsekiri communities for their significant role in ensuring that peace and security reign at all times in the waterways.
“If there’s no peace, this port cannot operate. If there’s no NPA, I cannot be here; if there’s no NPA, we, as a community, cannot be having what we are doing today.
“So, we need to make sure this peace continues. The purpose, as I have said before, is to appreciate the effort you have made,” he said.
Describing the empowerment as first of its kind, Chief Victor Okiri, who led other well-attired Ogbe-Ijoh chiefs to the brief handing over ceremony at the NPA complex, thanked the Warri Port management for giving hope to the hopeless among them.
He acknowledged that peace and security had returned to Warri as highlighted by Mr Okeke, informing the world that the days of restiveness and inter-communal war between Ijaw and Otsekiri were over.
Secretary of Ugbo-Mefa Itsekiri, Dr George Omiwere, who spoke for the Itsekiri entourage, appreciated the efforts of the port authorities, but urged the maritime body to complete all ongoing projects and integrate locals in the execution of the projects initiated by the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mrs Vivian Akpos Ajemutolu from Ogbe-Ijoh and Tope Ogbe (Itsekiri) said with the gesture, they had overcome the perennial lack of tools to effectively practise the tailoring skills they had acquired years back.
The duo, who thanked authorities of Warri Port on behalf of other beneficiaries for the empowerment, promised to put them to judicious and lucrative use to support their families economically.
“We are grateful; we have not seen this kind of thing before. I thank Nigerian Ports Authority and I pray that this should continue so that others can benefit from it.
“I learnt the skill in 2002. With this machine, it will be easier and quicker for me to make many blouses a day. And I pray that there should be light because I don’t have a generator for now,” Mrs Ajemutolu said.