… As Gov. Umo Eno renews bid to actualize Ibom Deep Seaport Project

By Pst. Solomon Essiet (ACIA)

The Ibom Deep Sea Port and Ibom Industrial city are expected to generate about 300,000 jobs upon it’s completion, thereby contributing positively to the Gross Domestic Product of our Country. Our children are therefore encouraged to embark on relevant courses that will give them advantage in the maritime industry.

Recall that Pst. Umo Bassey Eno, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, had on Wednesday, 10th January, 2024 sought the Federal Government’s support to fully implement the Ibom Deep Seaport project.

As part of efforts towards the realization of the projects, on Wednesday, 13th March, 2024, the Governor took members of the Technical Committee on the Implementation of Ibom Deep Seaport round the new office accommodation assigned to them on the third floor of Dakkadda Towers, the State-owned 21-storey smart building on Udo Udoma Banking layout, Uyo.

During the Governor’s meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) in January 2024, he argued that Nigeria’s South-South needs a seaport serving its population even as he described other seaports, especially that of Lagos as “congested”.

According to the Governor after a successful meeting with the committee and some Technical Partners on Wednesday, 13th March, 2024, “The move to allocate the new office space to the committee was necessitated by the need to avail them of requisite and befitting Infrastructure to aid the realization of the Deep Seaport Project in line with resolutions at the meeting.”

Stating further, the Governor said “I think we have had a good discussion and we have commenced the whole process again. What I can say is that we are ready now, we are back and you will begin to see activities geared towards the realization of the Ibom Deep Seaport.”

The Ibom Deep Seaport, located at the South East of Akwa Ibom State, is planned to be a deep-water facility built on a natural draft of about 17.5 meters, one of the deepest in the region.

Experts say the depth is a key feature allowing it to accommodate large vessels and handle a variety of cargo, including containers, dry bulk and liquid cargo. The IDSP will be owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Ports Authority in partnership with Akwa Ibom State Government and private investors.

Although the Federal Executive Council approved the Outline Business Case for the Public-Private Partnership project in May 2015, it remains uncompleted nearly a decade later. However, the immediate past Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration said it has midwifed critical stages of the project’s development.

The Chairman of the Technical Committee on the Implementation of Ibom Deep Seaport, Mrs. Mfon Usoro however thanked for the office accommodation and other forms of support to the committee which she described as a demonstration of the Governor’s commitment to the project.

The Ibom Deep Sea Port aims to become the Eastern Gateway of Nigeria, providing vital port capacity for the Country. Lagos, the existing gateway is situated at the Western part of the Country and is severely congested from the Sea and land sides, leading to delays for Ships entering the Port and leaving the Port due to capacity constraints on the terminal.

Ibom Deep Sea Port has two prime Characteristics that enables it to provide vital Port capacity: It is accessible for ships with draft up to 15m and it has an abundant availability of land in the Port area and it’s sorroundings. The project is based on the following needs:-

✅To provide much needed container handling and storage capacity.

✅To provide much needed imports capacity for petroleum products.

✅To provide imports capacity for vehicles.

✅To provide dedicated import capacity for food and agricultural products.

✅To provide dedicated export capacity for industrial output and natural resources.

✅To provide supply base for the regional Oil and Gas sector.

✅To provide a Ship yard and dry dock for Ship building, Vessel Maintenance and Repairs.

✅To provide a logistics base and regional trading hub in West Africa.

The Ibom Deep Sea Port is a green field Deep Sea Port project located on the Atlantic Coast about 65km to the Southeast of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The Port is an integrated development with the proposed Ibom Industrial city site that will be established on 14,517 ha. The land area allocated for the Port development is 2, 565 ha. The Ibom Deep Sea Port project shall be developed on the Southern part of the Ibom Industrial city site, with direct access to deep Sea trade routes, stable and predictable natural conditions, and ample area for expansion of the Port and the free trade zone.

The Development of the 30km road connecting the project to the federal highway and 20km Channel connecting the project to the Deep Sea are equally included in the responsibilities of the PDMC.

With the completion of a Port of this magnitude in Akwa Ibom State, the State will no doubt move to the front stage industrially in the Scheme of things in the Country and that will signal the end of Akwa Ibom State being describe as a Civil Service State, as the volume of Industrial activities to be carried out in the State, occasioned by the completion of the Sea Port can better be imagined.

I therefore call on the Minister of Transport, the director of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and other relevant Federal Government Agencies involved in Port operation to come to our aide by doing everything humanly possible to fast track the development of the Ibom Deep Sea Port, as the Port stand to generate considerable revenue both for the Federal Government and Akwa Ibom State respectively.

Pst. Solomon Essiet (ACIA) is the Special Assistant on New Media to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State

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