Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The federal government has commended Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State for his foresight to embark on construction of the Bakassi Deep Seaport, describing it as a worthy venture that will impact positively on the economic life of the country.
Chairman, Steering and Implementation Committee for the deep seaport and Director Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sani Galadanchi, stated this recently when he led other members of the committee on a courtesy visit to Government House in Calabar.
Galadanchi commended Ayade “on his vision to diversify the economy of the state from its dependence on revenue allocation from the federation. This is in line with the Federal Government’s desire in moving the maritime sector forward.”
While restating federal government’s readiness to partner Cross River State Government and other stakeholders for the actualisation of the project, Galadanchi pointed out that the realisation of the deep seaport would result in an improved national supply chain, industrial capacity utilisation and huge employment opportunities.
Expressing the regret over the delay in constituting the steering committee, the chairman said it was not intentional, just as he attributed the development to an earlier misunderstanding on the part of the officials from the state in the build up to the constitution and inauguration of the committee.
He listed some of the mandates of the committee to include, preparation of preliminary project feasibility/ proposal, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), work plans for project implementation and indicative budget for the project development as well as funding structure.
He promised that the committee will do all within its power to ensure the actualisation of the project in conformity with the nation’s Ports Master Plan.
In his response, Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, thanked the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi for setting up the steering committee for immediate take off of the deep seaport project, saying that the port was a life wire of his administration.
Ayade stated: “We want to deliver on our signature project, which include the Bakassi Deep seaport that you are currently here to finalise modalities for takeoff, the 260 km superhighway that will serve as an evacuation corridor.”
While restating the state’s willingness to comply with the recommendation of the committee in executing the project, Ayade said: “We are ready to work with the stakeholders in the maritime industry as well as other relevant federal government agencies as stipulated by law because Cross River is in a big hurry to ensure the takeoff of this very important project.
“Bakassi Deep Seaport is very significant to us. In fact, it is the hemoglobin in the blood. So, if it does not succeed, our dream of transforming the socio-economic landscape of this state will be a mirage,” the governor opined.
He further disclosed that “If the seaport is materialised, not only will Cross River be transformed but the neighbouring states of Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno as well as countries like Chad and Niger, will benefit immensely from the port services as it will also serve as a major incentive to economic development of those areas.”