Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has begged the new Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Victor Olugbemi Adedipe to support the construction of deep seaport in the State.
Speaking while receiving Adedipe in his office in Calabar on Wednesday, Ayade said: “The construction of the deep seaport cannot start if you and I are not working together.”
According to the governor, “by close of August, the contractors will start mobilizing to site for preliminary works on the construction of the Bakassi Deep Seaport. It is being built at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean and so, definitely it is a naval project by nature and we will be having nearly 13,000 workers on a daily basis transversing through the waterways to get to the site.”
He said: “There is no way the navy will not show a permanent presence. Therefore, we will need a permanent naval post at the construction site and the entrance of the construction site with a patrol vessel that is ocean going so that you can patrol the whole of Bakassi Peninsula and the border between Nigeria and Cameroon to ward off crime and unwanted people who will come in for criminality.”
This, the governor noted, will check activities of miscreants who may use the various exit points on the waterways to cause various crimes that could negatively affect the expected huge workforce.
The governor disclosed that “we have 33 points which people can take through the creeks and get out of Calabar. The greatest challenge is to have the naval presence in those areas.”
He stressed the need for the navy to collaborate with “Operation Skolombo” to holistically police the shoreline and to operate as a team in their renewed zeal to check activities of miscreants.
On the proposed Navy War College in Calabar, Ayade lauded President Buhari, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas who thought it wise to approve its establishment in Cross River State.
He said “I have actually approved a place of choice for the war college to be built. We will liaise with the community, pay the appropriate compensation so that we can take over the place and issue them with C of O.”
He charged the State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji and the Commissioner for Works to fast track the process of the land acquisition within four weeks to enable the Naval Course 2 kickoff as soon as possible.
Earlier, Rear Admiral Adedipe, who is the 34th FOC of the Eastern Naval Command assured that he will sustain the cooperation that had existed between the state government, his predecessor and the various security agencies in a bid to check criminality.
The new FOC also disclosed that “the Navy Board, in its wisdom, has decided to choose Cross River State as the host for the prestigious Naval War College,” urging the governor to “take a frontal role in ensuring that the land allocated to the navy for this project is officially given in line with the Land Use Act.”