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Ibom Deep Seaport will save $70m revenue hitherto lost to illegal fishing

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Abiola Seun

The Ibom deep seaport located in Ibaka, Mbo local council of Akwa Ibom State would save Nigeria approximately $70 million that would be lost to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

This was revealed by the Akwa Ibom State Director of National Orientation Agency, (NOA), Mr. Enoh Uyoh while addressing a Maritime Business/International Trade Sensitization Forum in Uyo.

Citing the critical role of the maritime industry in Nigeria’s economic growth, Mr. Uyo explained that the location of the Ibom Deep Seaport is critical to national security.

“Nigeria loses approximately $70 million to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in our territorial waters. The citing of Ibom Deep Seaport at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government will, to a large extent, provide the much-needed security in the region as much attention will be paid to the security of vessels, and maritime activities by local fishermen will receive a boost.”
He added that “maritime trade has played a key role in Nigeria’s economic development. It accounts for about 95 per cent of the vehicular means of Nigeria’s International Trade.”
Uyoh expressed hope that the seaport, when operational, would provide job opportunities to indigenes. He called on the host communities to do everything in their power for business to thrive in the area for their benefit and that of the state, and of the nation at large.
In a related development, the Chairman, Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport Actualization and Development and former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro has explained that the Federal Government decided the seaside location based on recommendations by the consultants, Maritime & Transport Business Solutions (MTBS) in its Outline Business Case (OBC).

Barr (Mrs.) Usoro, the immediate-past Secretary General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region stressed that all evidence confirmed that the Federal Government located the deep seaport in Ibom based on the fact that approval for location and construction of deep seaports is constitutionally the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

She recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the OBC and Commencement of Procurement Phase of Ibom deep seaport in May 2015. This was based on the presentation of the Outline Business Case to FEC by the then Minister of Transportation upon recommendation by the Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee (MPDSC).

The MPDSC, she added, is chaired by the Ministry of Transportation and comprises several relevant Federal Government agencies including the project proponent, Akwa Ibom State.

Only last month, the Ministry of Transportation threw out a petition from Oron Union dated February 2021, and submitted by a law firm acting on its behalf.

Part of the Ministry’s response states “accordingly, you are enjoined to advised (Oron Union) to cooperate and support Akwa Ibom State Government in its quest to successfully and timely execute the project for the overall interest of the citizens of the State and the Nigerian economy.”

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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