Feature: Nigeria needs the Ministry of Coastal Affairs

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By Ayo Akinfe

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Not one of the presidential candidates has suggested renaming the Niger Delta ministry the Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs with a mandate to regenerate the Atlantic seaboard

[1] Were I runnning for president, a new Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs would be created. One of its major priorities would be to oversee the construction of a Lagos to Calabar railway line. This would be a high speed rail link that runs at about 250km an hour

[2] One other big task this ministry would have is that a six lane motorway should also be built along Nigeria’s 853km coastline. It should be pot hole free and tolled to cover its cost

[3] This ministry would also be tasked with developing, dredging and expanding the ports of Aiyetoro in Ondo State, Warri, Escarvos and Burutu in Delta State, Brass in Bayelsa State, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Ikot-Abasi in Akwa Ibom State and Calabar in Cross River State

[4] This ministry would also build an 800km wind farm stretching from Badagry to Calabar and manage the power stations that distribute the generated electricity. It should have a power subsidiary called Coastal Electric

[5] This ministry would be charged with attracting shipbuilders and ship breakers into Nigeria. It is highly embarrassing that Nigeria does not have one shipyard. How can a nation have 800km of coastline and not even one boatyard

[6] Our Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs would also establish and have oversight for a Nigerian Coastguard Service. It should be their job to patrol our waterways and combat criminal acts like piracy, oil theft, arms smuggling, etc

[7] This ministry would also be handed the responsibility for eliminating gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. Its mandate should be to attract companies to build gas-fired power stations in the region. I want to see one or two companies also given contracts to build a massive Nigerian gas pipe network to distribute its products to every home in the country

[8] Our Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs should also be responsible for expanding trade with central Africa. It should expand the Calabar air and sea ports and have daily flights and shipping services to places like Yaoundé, Douala, Libreville, Gaborone, Malabo, Brazzaville, Kinshasa, Luanda, etc

[9] This ministry should also build a six lane motorway linking Ikot Nakanda in Cross River State with Cameroon. At the moment, if you want to drive into Cameroon you have to go all the way up to Ikom in central Cross River State. Along the coastline, if you want to cross the border, embarrassingly, you need to go by boat

[10] This enlarged ministry should also set up the West African Maritime Transportation Company. It should have a cargo shipping arm and a passenger service. The ultimate aim is to build it up into an global shipping company that can compete with the big boys

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