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Clark faults siting of naval base in Kano

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
21 September 2021   |   3:02 am
Elder statesman and leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, faulted the decision of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Awwal Zubairu

[File] Edwin Kiagbodo Clark

Elder statesman and leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, faulted the decision of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Awwal Zubairu, to establish a Naval Base in Kano State.

Clark, who spoke to reporters in Abuja, argued that sitting at a Naval Base in the middle of the Sahel presently being threatened by desertification, was ill-conceived, describing the development as ‘nepotism and parochialism’ taken too far.

The Guardian learnt that the plan gained prominence following Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s donation of 100 hectares of land at Dawakin Tofa Community for the purpose.

In an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Zubairu, the former Minister of Information questioned the rationale for building a Naval Base in Kano at a time when the Niger Delta region needed protection.

Clark, who accused the President Buhari administration of undermining the interest of the Niger Delta region, declared that siting such a project was tantamount to a wild goose chase and waste of scarce resources.

His words: “Presently, there are no viable Naval Base in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states. In Delta State, in particular, it is sad that there is no functional Naval Base in a major coastal town like Sapele where there is a serious need for it.

“There used to be a Naval Base in Sapele, but for reasons best known to the Federal Government, it was downgraded to a training school, and in fact, almost abandoned. The Warri Naval Base is nothing to write home about because it is not functioning as it ought to as of today,” he said.

“Large navy warships which used to patrol the waters and provide security can no longer do so due to the fact that the place has stilted and the Federal Government has refused to dredge it. The structure housing the base was not properly designed and constructed with the intent of building a functional Naval Base.”

He also decried the Federal Government for running the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline from Akwa-Ibom State, without mentioning Akwa Ibom where the gas will be sourced from in the project.

“One would have thought that the Federal Government would have asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and their Nigerian counterparts to move their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta, which has not been done despite promises made.

“The implementation of the relocation order made by President Buhari through the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has remained a stillbirth. But the Federal Government has urgently approved the building of a naval base in a part of the country where there is no water. One wonders if vessels that can cruise on sand have been built in Kano,” he added.