The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has appealed to the Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, to fast-track work on the deep seaport.

The PUNCH reported that the Federal Executive Council approved the operating license for the seaport last year.

The seaport was sited at Olokola in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state but it was alleged that work had not started on the project.

The President of the Ondo State Office of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Engnr. Emmanuel Adewumi lamented that the current situation of the project appeared as if the government had abandoned the seaport project.

Adewumi spoke at a one-day awareness seminar organised by the council in Akure, the state capital on Thursday.

According to the president, the deep seaport project when complete would boost the economic situation of the state in the area of employment and Internally Generated Revenue. He urged the government to begin work on the project.

Adewumi said, “I want to use this medium to appreciate the role of the immediate past Executive Governor of this State, the late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, but who has just gone to join the saints triumphant. It was he who spearheaded the agitations for the establishment of a Deep Sea Port at Igbokoda in Ondo State.

“Unfortunately, despite the claim that a Department of Marine and Blue Economy has been created in Ondo State, there is no indication that our Sunshine State hosting the port has done much in this regard.

“As far as this project is concerned, Ondo State should be at the forefront and take advantage of this project to the benefit of the economic well-being of the state by liaising with the newly- -established Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy for the early take-off of the deep seaport.

“We can no longer afford to sit on the fence. Even our neighboring states like Ogun and Lagos State are even more prepared for the effective use of the Ondo deep seaport. One important fact we must all realise is that all over the world, the richest city/location, as well as massive employment centre in any country, is the seaport. The economic viability of seaport can not be overemphasised. Ondo Sate-wake up.”

However, in his remarks, Governor Aiyedatiwa who was represented by the Permanent Secretary,  Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Funmilayo Akinola, said the project was not abandoned.

He said, “Work is ongoing, the Ondo Seaport is not abandoned.”

Aiyedatiwa stated that his government was ready to give support to the business of importing and exporting in the state.

“The Ondo State Government recognizes the importance of trade facilitation and stands ready to play a proactive role in supporting importers and exporters within its jurisdiction.

“Through initiatives such as investment in infrastructure development, provision of conducive business environments, and promotion of trade-friendly policies, Ondo State aims to attract and retain businesses engaged in import and export activities,” the governor stressed.