Cross River State government yesterday, signed a construction agreement for preliminary works at the Bakassi Deep Seaport with China Harbour Company.
The Bakassi Deep Seaport project, which is one of the signature projects of state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, is expected to serve the North Eastern part of the country as well as Chad and Niger Republic.
China Harbour is a state-owned company in China with strong expertise in construction and drainage.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony at the executive council chamber of the Governor’s Office in Calabar, Ayade, who disclosed the motivation for the deep seaport, decried the unfair treatment the state has suffered in the hands of federal authorities in the wake of the loss of Bakassi to Cameroon.
His words: “The state had been treated unfairly in the Nigerian project through several ways of marginalisation and unjust treatments.”
Ayade who also regretted the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula, loss of 76 oil wells as well as the delisting of Cross River from the 13 per cent derivation, said “the situation has reduced the state to lack and want in body and soul and a weeping child of the nation.”
According to him, his administration has been in desperate need of creating an alternative source of income for the state despite the setback, adding that, “the Bakassi Deep Seaport is strategic for security and economic reasons.”
He said the “Bakassi Deep Seaport will create a new narrative in merchandise and international trade in efficient port management system.”
The governor expressed optimism that when the Bakassi Deep Seaport, the superhighway and the power generation projects are completed, Cross River will be one of the investment hubs of Africa.
He urged both the North Central and North Eastern parts of of the country to key into the projects and take them as their own because of the short distance it would take to access the port than going to Lagos.
Ayade praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the support he has been giving to the state, stressing that the citing of the port in Bakassi was a divine compensation for a people who have been deprived of their land.
According to Ayade, the signing of the development agreement between the state government and the Chinese company signalled the commencement of the project.
Earlier, the Managing Director of China Harbour Engineering Company, Mr. Zhang Wenteng, assured the governor that the company will deliver high quality of work, assuring that it won’t disappoint the state and the country.