There are several deep seaports in the offing in the country. These ports which are in different stages of actualisation are key components of the Federal Government Greenfield Development Programme. These Greenfield Development projects have been on the drawing board of the federal government for years. The management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which serves as the eye of the federal government in the development of the Greenfield projects had at different times expressed its willingness to partner with investors to ensure that the projects are actualise.
In fact successive Managing Directors of the grade A Federal Ministry of Transportation parasatal have continued to use every avenue to express their desire to develop the Greenfield projects. The present Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman is not an exception. This is understandable. The existing ports especially the ones in Lagos which remain the busiest in the country are river ports. A lot of scarce resources which would have been used for other things that would have been beneficial for the wellbeing of the citizenry are deploy to the dredging of the channels, pilotage and ship-to-ship services.
This explains why the construction of deep seaports as outline in the port development master plan is desirable. Besides addressing the ills associated with the present river ports, it will provide direct and indirect employment for thousands of Nigerians presently roaming the streets for non-existent jobs. The employment opportunities are in the pre=construction, construction and post-construction stages. The move will also enhance Nigeria’s quest to make her ports a hub in the West and Central Sub-Regions.
One of the deep seaports that have shown promise in the Greenfield development agenda of the federal Government is the Ibom Deep Seaport (IDS). The deep seaport which is situated at Ibaka, a coastal community in the oil and gas rich Akwa Ibom State is a key component of Ibom Industrial City (IIC) projects. Already, the Technical Committee for the Realisation of Ibom Deep Seaport set up by the state government has not left any stone unturned to ensure that it meet set goals and objectives for the IDS.
The committee which has the pioneer Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro as its Chairperson organised a two-days- visioning workshop for stakeholders. Besides ensuring that everyone is brought on board to ensure that IDS become a dream come true shortly, it was also meant to showcase what the committee has done so far and the grounds yet to be covered. In order to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, the committee invited the project managers, consultants, the host communities, investors and expected clients of IDS to the workshop which took place at Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo. Among other things, it was meant to galvanise support for the IDS.
Usoro has continued to use her wealth of experience in the maritime industry to get inputs from relevant quarters to ensure that the committee achieve the purpose for which it was set up by the state government. She assured the stakeholders that the committee will not rest on its oars until it actualise its mandate in the months ahead.