The appeal was made during a courtesy call on His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, Obong of Calabar at the Royal Palace in Calabar recently.
The Managing Director, who visited Calabar recently on a familiarisation of Calabar Port facility, said that although Calabar Port had obvious challenges with respect to high siltation rates and shallow channel, the federal government was firmly committed to addressing these challenges and making the Port vibrant and viable.
Abdulahi informed the Obong that the long awaited dredging of Calabar Port channel had finally gained a milestone as the federal government had approved for a company to undertake capital and maintenance dredging of the channel to allow bigger vessels unrestricted access to the Port facility.
The NPA boss said that by this gesture, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has demonstrated his personal interest in making Calabar Port viable.
He urged the business community and the people of Calabar to work out how best to take advantage of the versed opportunity that the port would present in the near future.
The NPA helmsman assured that his administration would remain open to advice, suggestions and contributions from the throne of Calabar.
On his part, the Obong in a response appreciated the managing director for the timely visit.
He bemoaned the dormant state of Calabar Port; adding that the port was originally created alongside Warri and Koko Ports to help the nation cope with sever congestion problem being experienced then at the Lagos Port.
The Obong lamented that the Calabar Port had suffered a number of set-backs in the past, arising from the failed attempts to dredge the Port’s shallow channel.
He decried a situation where there would be a time lag between the pre-dredging survey and the actual dredging; stressing that continuous siltation over time would make the survey unreliable. His Eminence urged the federal government to place the economic benefits of the dredging project above all other considerations.
The monarch also suggested the rehabilitation of various link roads to ensure free flow of traffic from the Port to other cities in the North-central and North-eastern parts of the country.
He pledged to sustain the cordial relationship existing between the People of Calabar and the Nigerian Ports Authority; while expressing his appreciation to Mr. President for responding to the yearnings of the Calabar people.
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