Mkpoikana Udoma 01 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, has urged the Federal Government to give equal opportunity to all seaports in the country to operate.
Speaking at NACCIMA’s 4th quarter council meeting in Port Harcourt, president of the association, Chief Bassey Edem, alleged that the seaports in Port Harcourt, Warri, Calabar and Sapele were deliberately killed to paved the way for Lagos ports to grow.
Chief Edem said the council meeting should not only be advantageous for Port Harcourt but for the entire south south.
“It is not just Port Harcourt port that needs to be revamped, we have the Calabar port, Warri and Sapele ports; all these ports in this area (south south) were deliberately allowed to run down in order to promote Lagos ports, and we think it is wrong.
“We think it is time we at NACCIMA (Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture) fights at national level while PHCCIMA and other state chambers fight at local level to make sure that all the seaports in Nigeria are given equal opportunity to operate.”
Also speaking, President of the PHCCIMA, Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji, said it was necessary, in the spirit of diversification, to reinvent the Port Harcourt seaport as a shipping hub, saying: “Port Harcourt was first a port, and then a city was built around it.”
On his part, the guest speaker at the event, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, speaking on the topic, “Re-inventing Port Harcourt as a port city”, stressed the need for the state government as well as organisations to tap into the abundant opportunities in the shipping industry.
Badejo, who is a professor of transportation at the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State, explained in his keynote lecture the opportunities in shipping which ranges from tourism, small hydro power plants, water technology, ports and ship building, container freight stations, food and agro-processing, deep water container trans-shipment terminal, amongst others.
According to him, these would generate millions of employment opportunities and also boost the internal revenue of the state.