Importers Association of Nigerian (IMAN), on Wednesday, called on the governors and the stakeholders in the South East to come together and decide how to revive the Oseakwa Seaport and other ports within the zone to ensure the growth of its economy, urging them to work more closely with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for this purpose.
The group, which bemoaned how a $600 million deal between former Imo state governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, and the Chinese government for a Blue Sea Port project in Oguta Lake was lost, argued had the project been realised, it would have by now helped in the revival of the seaport in Ihiala, Anambra State which functionality, he believed, would add value to the economies of the South East and South-South regions.
National President of the association, Kingsley Chikezie, who told reporters in Awka that the project, would have added value to Nigeria’s economy, was frustrated by forces with ethnic colours, regretted that it was in furtherance of the effort to frustrate the said ports, that the authorities ordered the importation of pharmaceutical goods to be done through the Lagos seaports, specifically the one in Apapa.
He said: “These are the things and obstacles that we the importers are facing due to the abandonment of the Oseakwa Seaport by successive governments in the country and you know that we in the South East and South-South are the importers. We call on the governors of the South East to establish a South East Economic Corporation to kick start the process irrespective of political interests just as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has concluded arrangements for the rail lines that would link up the oil producing states in the area.”
“I want you to imagine what this place would have been like if that 600 million dollars deal had worked out. And that would have also affected the Oseakwa Seaport project to come on stream by now. Today, the NDDC is putting up rail lines linking those areas and the governors of the South East should set up that commission which would have its members drawn from the five states and funded with the equity contributions of the five state governments.
He commended NIWA headed by Chief George Moghalu, for its achievements in reviving some dead and moribund river and sea ports across the country but urged it to partner with the South East Governors Forum (SEGF) to jumpstart the revival of the Oseakwa Seaport.
“There is no doubt that the management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has been doing their best in the area of recovering our dead or moribund river and sea ports but a lot needs to be done. Let our governors in the South East have that synergy with NIWA to look at the Oseakwa Seaport and fashion out ways of making the abandoned Oseakwa Seaport come alive again because our people are going through hell and losing billions of Naira because of the absence of the Oseakwa seaport.”