Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government has approved the request by Cross River State for the formal recognition of Bakassi Deep Seaport, which is under construction.
Making the disclosure at the weekend while answering questions from journalists at the State House, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, said the official approval of the port by the federal government had given the state the recipe to launch the port on a commercial scale.
He listed the composition of the port to include an evacuation corridor and a six-lane highway linking the port with the north.
Ayade, who spoke with journalists after meeting with the Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, also said the highway which is almost completed was conceived to bring the northern closer to the Atlantic Ocean.
According to him, investors will invest on the highway by building toll gates, adding that it would boost the movement of goods because it is a virgin road.
“Only yesterday, we got the official approval for the Bakassi Deep Sea Port outline business case which means that the Nigerian government has now officially recognised the Bakassi Deep Sea Port and has given us the impetus to go for the full business case.
“The Bakassi Deep Seaport is the only port in Nigeria that has an evacuation corridor; so you have a port in Bakassi with a six-lane super highway taking you direct to northern Nigeria. So, what Cross River is trying to do is take the Atlantic Ocean closer to Northern Nigeria.
“The super highway is almost done. If you get to the super highway today, construction work is going on but because it is a brand new road, you don’t see it from the road and we are not in a habit of dramatising it but when the dry season comes, I am relocating to the super highway because what we have done is to segment it into 50 kilometres each and allow investors who are interested to your beat; do it; put your toll gate and recover your money because it is a private road.
“It is a road that has never existed. It is not a federal road. It is my initiative and the whole idea is that the Northern part of Nigeria particularly, the North-east and North-west cannot see the desired prosperity unless they get access to the deep sea port.
“Otherwise, the wonderful sesame seed we have in Borno and Yobe lie prostrate. The solid minerals we have in the North-east is lying waste because you cannot travel 2,000 kilometres to a seaport carrying such materials on road.
“So, definitely the super highway will shorten all of that. The coal deposit is unexploited. So, you see Nigeria sitting in huge want particularly for northern Nigeria without anybody extracting. I believe that the super highway and the Deep Seaport are supposed to be federal government project at this time particularly with the potential that it will succeed,” he said.