The Ibom deep seaport located in Ibaka, Mbo local council of Akwa Ibom State would save Nigeria approximately $70 million that would have been allegedly lost to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in Nigeria’s territorial waters, Akwa Ibom State Director of National Orientation Agency, (NOA), Mr. Enoh Uyoh has said.
Uyoh, disclosed this while addressing a Maritime Business/International Trade Sensitisation Forum in Uyo.
This is just as the Chairman, Technical Committee on Ibom deep seaport Actualisation and Development and former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs. Mfon Usoro, has explained that the federal government decided the location of the port based on recommendations by the consultants, Maritime & Transport Business Solutions (MTBS) in its Outline Business Case (OBC).
Usoro, stressed that all evidence confirmed that the federal government located the deep seaport in Ibom based on the fact that approval for location and construction of deep seaports was constitutionally the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Citing the critical role of the maritime industry in Nigeria’s economic growth, Uyo explained that the location of the Ibom Deep Seaport is critical to national security.
According to him, “Nigeria loses approximately $70 million to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in our territorial waters. The citing of Ibom Deep Seaport at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government will, to a large extent, provide the much-needed security in the region as much attention will be paid to the security of vessels, and maritime activities by local fishermen will receive a boost.”
He added, “Maritime trade has played a key role in Nigeria’s economic development. It accounts for about 95 per cent of the vehicular means of Nigeria’s International Trade.”
Uyoh expressed hope that the seaport when operational would provide job opportunities to indigenes.
He called on the host communities to do everything in their power for business to thrive in the area for their benefit and that of the state, and of the nation at large.
Usoro who is the immediate-past Secretary General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, stressed that all evidence confirm that the federal government located the deep seaport in Ibom as approvals for location and construction of deep seaports is exclusive preserve of the government.
She recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the Outline Business Case and Commencement of Procurement Phase of Ibom deep seaport in May 2015.
“This was based upon the presentation of the Outline Business Case to the FEC by the then Minister of Transportation upon recommendation by the Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee (MPDSC), “she stated.
The MPDSC, she added, is chaired by the Ministry of Transportation and comprises several relevant federal government agencies including the project proponent, Akwa Ibom State.