National News

Akeredolu Seeks Deep Seaport In Ondo

After another closed-door meeting with the President, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) told State House correspondents that the state needed the Federal Government to take advantage of the natural resources in the state.

He said: “We are asking that the country takes advantage of the natural resources in Ondo State. We have a seaport, which is very germane to our export activities, in particular, and our mineral deposits, which we have in large number. We need to have a deep sea-manning port. Ondo State is well suited for it.

“So, we impressed this on Mr. President on what we believe will be a lasting legacy, if we are able to accomplish it in his own time.”

On the volume of mineral resources for export warranting a deep seaport, Akeredolu said: “No. You just look at the volume of natural resources we are exporting through any port in Nigeria.

“The total volume, which is still not so high; the moment it gets high, we will need a deep seaport where we will even have a modern ship berth. We do not have anywhere in this country today where big ships can berth, not in Lagos or Calabar.

“That is why what you see is that so many of the ships will berth in the high sea while the smaller ones will be used to take the goods there or bring the goods from the ship. That is why we need a deep seaport where the biggest ships in the world can berth, and that is in Ondo State.”

The Minister of Mines and Steel Dr Kayode Fayemi said the deep seaport was about the future.

On non-oil revenue, he said: “We are emphasising solid minerals development as a vehicle for diversification, an agenda of Mr. President. So, we look at what role that will play in the future and the non-oil sector.

“Now, our oil wealth is going down; at the same time, we are talking that other countries are talking about manufacturing cars that will not use fuel in the next two decades. What will these cars be using? If you look at the Tata vehicles out there (in India), there are all battery-powered. Where will the battery power come from? It will come from lead, lithium, cobalt. These are things we have in abundance in Nigeria.

“So, although we may lose out on oil, it doesn’t mean it is a zero sum gain. We may be gaining other things which Mr. President is keen about.

“The President asked for an update on Ajaokuta and the Aluminium Smelting Company at Ikot Abasi. I came to brief Mr. President on the development to ensure these companies are back to life.

“I told him about the efforts the Vice President has been making at ensuring that we have a definitive solution to the sale of Aluminium Smelting Company at Ikot Abasi and that we also move forward in the resolution and agreement reached on Ajaokuta Steel so that we get ready for the second concessioning.

“We have appointed an adviser; we have appointed a new leadership there, because the term of the last leadership has expired. Those were the things we updated Mr. President on.

“Mineral resources have contributed significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP) and revenue. This year alone, we have exceeded the target given to us. If you look at the Bureau of Statistics’ report, you will see that the two sectors that have contributed immensely to the GDP are agriculture and solid minerals.”

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