Lawyers blame Nigeria’s foreign debt profile on failure to harness maritime potential
Lawyers have blamed the nation’s foreign loan profile, non- payment of minimum wage and university teachers’ emoluments on failure of government to effectively harness the maritime and tourist potential.
The legal practitioners, under the aegis of Admiralty Lawyers’ Society of Nigeria, said it was worrisome that the country is still struggling with the above despite having what it takes to be a major player in the maritime world.National President of the association, Angus Chukwuka, stated this during the 2019 membership course held in Akwa Ibom State at the weekend.
According to him, “the country has been blessed with unbelievably great marine environment. Our seabed is rich with mineral resources, as our waters are populated with seafoods. We have waters, which natural channels and draught have the potential of being not just tourist ambience, but world class maritime hubs”.
“The tourist potential of the Niger Delta waters are so enormous that not harnessing them effectively may be the reason the country is struggling with payment of the lingering minimum wage, varsity teachers’ emoluments and foreign loan profiles
“A boosted tourism industry in Akwa Ibom can salvage the unemployment situation, not only in the state, but also in the nation. Beyond tourism, the siting of a deep seaport in Akwa Ibom will generate as much as four million jobs and lead to spring up and growth of maritime businesses in the state.
“Nigeria will be better and the nation’s income earnings and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will experience a boom if these steps are taken. Akwa Ibom deep seaport experiment or project will present great possibilities. Nigeria will have another opportunity of managing a boom. If the country fails to manage the oil boom, it may perhaps demonstrate capacity to manage a maritime boom.”
Chukwuka, who said to build and sustain a buoyant maritime industry would provide answers for the nation’s chronic debt burdens and sprawling infrastructural decay, expressed optimism that the move would provide an alternative route to oil exploration and exploitation and terminate decades of national pretentions.
“Aside from Akwa Ibom State, the deep seaport may also be sited in any of the states in the Niger Delta. This would make for a balanced trade relationships and proper development for nation’s maritime industry.“Wherever it is sited, capacity is key,” he further said.
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