21 June 2005

Nigeria: Vandalisation: We Pay N1M to Save Each Vessel - Julius Berger

Warri — Construction firm Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has said that it pays at least one million naira for each ship that is allowed to "come up the river" unmolested by youths operating along the Warri water ways in Delta State.

A top official of the firm also said that armed soldiers and Naval personal deployed to escort the company's vessels are often the first to take to their heels sighting pirates, hence the resort to settling the youths.

The company's materials coordinator, Mr. Jurgen Jahuke disclosed this in Warri over the weekend.

Jahuke who said that Warri is the coordinating base for all Julius Berger's logistics operations, added that the practice is to ensure that the company's imported materials, including vehicles are not vandalised.

Although Yahuke admitted that the situation has calmed down along the waterways with regard to the activities gun totting pirates, the insisted that the only gurantee against resurgence was to "send some money down the river so that the ships could come up the river to the port unmolested".

On why military escorts were not used by the company as deterrent against the pirates, Ahuke condemned such resort as ineffective and some of the soldiers as "useless".

He said that it had become the experience of the company to know that at the slightest hint of trouble, the soldiers and naval personnel atached to the vessels were normally the first to take to their heels.

Jahuke commended the Delta state government for improvements on Warri roads and in other parts of the state.

He said that things will further improve if the escravous bar in dredged so that bigger ocean-going vessels can come up the river to the port.

Jahuke estimated that it will cost about $60 million to $80 million to dredge the Warri river channal, adding that with this done, there will be greater activities at the port.

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