Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Abia State government has welcomed a private sector initiative to build a seaport at Obeaku community in Ukwa East local government, which is just 23 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Alhaji Suleiman Ukandu, said the state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was desirous of ensuring the completion of the port project within his tenure.
The sea port is sited on 2,000 hectares of land is expected to link Abia and indeed the entire South-east zone to international trade and commerce with the Azumini Blue River serving as link channel.
Presently there is no sea port in the entire South-east zone and the nearby ones in Onne(Rivers State) and Calabar(Cross River State) have remained moribund due to official policy of concentrating imports activities in Lagos ports.
Ukandu told stakeholders from the host community during his tour of the site that the investor was determined to deliver the project in record time, adding that government required the full cooperation of the donor community to make it possible.
After inspecting the project site, the commissioner urged the investor to demonstrate their preparedness to execute the project by immediately commencing the dredging of Azumini Blue River, which is 23 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Blue River, which is a tourist attraction of it’s own, is expected to link the port to the Atlantic Ocean after dredging to accommodate ocean going vessels.
The traditional ruler of Obeaku community, Eze Ikeagwuchi Ekeke, said his people were ready to ensure the realisation of the seaport project, which has suffered delay over the years.
He said it was in the best interest of the host community to give maximum cooperation to both the state government and the investor to ensure the completion of the project within the stipulated period.
But the royal father reminded the investor on the need to follow due process and treat the people with fairness in the execution of the project, assuring that if required the host community would provide additional land for the project.
Former commissioner and front line politician from the host community, Elder Godwin Nna stated that the state governor had consulted with stakeholders before engaging the new investor who, according to him, has the capacity to complete the project in record time.
Chief executive officer of Zoros Energy Limited, Eze Ikenna Nwaigwe, who is in charge of the investor’s portfolio in Africa, disclosed that the investor has 53 conglomerates worldwide, adding that there should be no doubt in the ability of the investor to complete the project.
He said about a million jobs would be created when the port is completed and becomes operational.