By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has disclosed that the Deep Seaport to be constructed in the state will create 30,000 jobs.
The Deep Seaport located around Bakassi waterways and the Atlantic Ocean is part of Ayade’s signature projects, and includes the 260 kilometer Super Highway, which will link Calabar Metropolis to Katsina-Ala in Benue State.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 20, 2015 performed its ground breaking in Obung village of Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state.
Ayade, who spoke with journalists after a meeting with the president at the State House said: “It is going to be a place where all modern vessels will pass and it will create at least 30,000 jobs and because Cross River has 20,000 square kilometers of landmass, it would cause an expansion of Cross River State and that will change the complete economics and business activities of Cross River State.
“In basic clear terms, that highway and the deep seaport will benefit the states of Kogi, Nasarawa, because without a deep seaport, it will be almost impossible to exploit the iron ore export in those states. That is why those who understand what a federal structure looks like would have a coastline in the north and south regions of Nigeria. Having one major port in Lagos and another in Calabar will feed the north east and north central from Calabar and northwest and middle belt from Lagos State.
“This is how they originally designed this country to be. A situation where we have only one gateway into the country, every port is Lagos, it is just strategically wise to have an alternative and that alternative port coming bigger and better would cut the cost of shipment coming from Senegal and Lome to Nigeria.
“So, modern vessels and post panama vessels will be coming straight into Nigeria and berth at Calabar and for those who are into core business of mining can ship in their produce and products straight into this super highway through the deep seaport and export.”
Ayade said he was in the State House to brief the president on the progress so far following his commitment that the project would be commissioned in his tenure.
He said: “Against that background, we have an understanding to be giving him update, basically this is to give him a progress report on the efforts we have made so far in the deep seaport, when we did the super highway we have made substantial progress, specific locations have been made.
“Preliminary and detailed designs have been completed by China harbor and the documentation of the inauguration of the steering committee is being done,” he said.