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Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) has opened up on how a $600 million deal between a former Governor of Imo state, Chief Achike Udenwa, and the Chinese government for a Blue Sea Port project in Oguta Lake failed and was lost.
Mr. Kingsley Chikezie who is the National President of the association told newsmen on Thursday the project, which would have added value to Nigeria’s economy, was frustrated by forces with ethnic colours.
The Eastern Updates gathered that to further frustrate the Eastern ports, the importation of pharmaceutical goods was ordered to be done through the Lagos seaports, specifically the one in Apapa.
Chikezie said that had the seaport project been realised, it would have by now helped in the revival of the abandoned Oseakwa Seaport in Ihiala, Anambra State which functionality, he believes, would add value to the economies of the South East and South-South regions.
IMAN, however, called on the governors and the stakeholders in the South East to come together and decide how to revive the Oseakwa Seaport. It also asked it to work more closely with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to revive the seaport.
Chikezie 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.’
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‘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.’
The IMAN National President lamented what became of the Imo/China deal which he said would have provided job opportunities for the youths and encouraged commerce and industry in the South East and South-South had it succeeded.
‘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.