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Reps, Cross River seek sovereign guarantee for Bakassi deep seaport

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Ben Ayade

The House of Representatives and Cross River State Government have urged the Federal Government to grant Cross River State a sovereign guarantee to ensure the construction of Bakassi Deep Seaport.

A statement from the governor’s office yesterday said Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and ad-hoc Committee on Ports, Yusuf Buba Yakub, who led members of his committee on a courtesy call on the state governor, Ben Ayade, said the Bakassi deep seaport project should not be seen as that of the state, but rather as one that would benefit the entire country, especially Northern Nigeria and neighbouring countries of Chad and Niger Republics.

The committee, which was in the state as part of its oversight functions to investigate why ports in the eastern part of the country were not functioning optimally, said: “This committee will do everything possible to ensure that the deep seaport project comes to fruition because the port is not for Cross River, but Nigeria and the whole of Africa and by extension, other parts of the world as many countries want to do business with Nigeria.

“A country like China wants to bring in a lot of heavy machinery to start up the industrialisation of Nigeria but because we don’t have deep seaports, some of the big vessels cannot bring in this equipment.”

Yakub, who was impressed with the presentation made on the prospects of the Bakassi deep seaport, gave the assurance that “this committee will do everything it can to support and see that this great dream of the governor of Cross River is brought to fruition… I am sure when we present our recommendations, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, will grant the sovereign guarantee for this project.”

Ayade told the committee that “the Bakassi deep seaport is urgent, critical and is for national security interest,” adding that “in some of the countries of the world, it is in such ports that strategic reserves of economic products and food are kept.”

He said: “For economic, security and strategic reasons, for political consideration, to put an end to Boko Haram, to increase productivity and help in the full value of our mineral resources, the Bakassi deep seaport is the only solution.

“Cross River has 58 per cent of the entire forest cover of this country. If you could take our oil wells by force, take our land by force, cede our territory by force and we never fought back, the sovereign guarantee, is just not too much to grant.

“I leave it to you, to your conscience and the God that you serve that the day you come before the President, may the spirit of God Almighty that you serve, come upon you and remain with you whenever you utter a word, let the President say, I grant a sovereign guarantee for the Bakassi deep seaport.”


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