The Akwa Ibom State Director of National Orientation Agency, Mr. Enoh Uyoh has said the completion of Ibom Deep Seaport in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State would forestall approximately $70 million Nigeria looses to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in Nigeria’s territorial waters.
Uyoh stated this on Friday in Uyo while addressing a Maritime Business/International Trade Sensitisation Forum organised by Bright Flow Logistics Services and Nigeria Private Sector Alliance in collaboration with National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Uyo,.
He noted that the siting of Ibom Deep Seaport in the area would provide the much-needed security in the region as much attention would be paid to the security of vessels, and maritime activities and local fishermen would receive a boost.
He said that maritime industry in Nigeria has remain very important to economic growth of the nation.
According to him, “Nigeria looses approximately $70 million to illegal fishing by the Chinese and European trawlers in our territorial waters.
“The siting 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.
“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 allow a level playing ground for business to thrive in the area for their benefits and that of the state.
Earlier, the Comptroller Shehu Gana Nigeria Custom Service, Cross River/Akwa Ibom Free Trade Zone, Tinapa resort, Calabar Area Command, said that Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has the deepest seaport in Nigeria with more than 15 metres depth and can accommodate over three merchant ships.
Gana, who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller, Jude Azubuike, said if the State Government could well harness and development the natural gifted harbour, the economy of the state would be competing with countries like China.
“If Ibaka Deep Seaport is well harnessed and developed, Akwa Ibom State economy would be more than China. There is no ship that can not enter Ibaka.
“Places like Lagos, Port Harcourt and others are channels most of the ships move there. Some were not built as seaport but high-sea where goods, containers, vehicles are transported to the main Port. But, Ibaka has the deepest seaport in Nigeria,” he said.
In his welcome remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bright Flow Logistics Services, Mrs Aniefiok Iton, said that the workshop was preparing people for maritime business to support the industrialisation drive of the state government.
She added that the sensitisation workshop was to create awareness of the opportunities in the Maritime sector, stressing that people must get involved in the underlined activities of the marine environment.
“Ocean that surrounds Akwa Ibom can not be found anywhere else in Nigeria. It has the capacity to accommodate mother vessels from far Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.
“As a Mariner, who have been in the Maritime industry for many years, I know that the employment opportunities, wealth among others to be created from the seaport will be massive,” she said.