Feature: Nigeria needs a Comprehensive Atlantic Seaboard Policy

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I hope President Tinubu realises that he needs to back up the construction of the Calabar to Lagos Expressway with a comprehensive Nigerian Atlantic Seaboard policy

Ayo Akinfe

[1] We appear to have finally woken up to the economic potential of Nigeria’s Atlantic seaboard. We have 853km of coastline, which is a cashcow and goldmine. We should consider the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Expressway as the first step of a major action plan

[2] For starters, I believe the whole project should be under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. Make the minister the man responsible for ensuring that revenue generated matches crude oil receipts at the very least

[3] For me, the first thing to do tomorrow is to behind the construction of a concurrent high speed rail link that runs at about 250km an hour. Building a highway is only doing half of the job. To cut the cost of freight movement, you need to be able to move containers by rail, anywhere along the seaboard within about three hours

[4] This action plan should also involve 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

[5] Whether we like it or not, we also have to build an 800km wind farm stretching from Badagry to Calabar and manage the power stations that distribute the generated electricity. Maybe it should have a power subsidiary called Coastal Electric

[6] Our minister should then 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?

[7] Gboyega Oyetola, the minister, should 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

[8] Minister Oyetola should also be handed the responsibility for eliminating gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. He should 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 produce to every home in the country

[9] Minister Oyetola should then 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. Ultimately, I want to see the establishment of a 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

[10] In addition, the 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

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