By Ediri Ejoh
The Federal Government has granted approval for the establishment of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex, ESIC, to Mercury Marine Concession Company, MMCC.
The proposed $2.9 billion project is majorly designed to boost economic/national development of Nigeria particularly, Delta State.
Chairman, Chief Executive of the firm, Rear-Admiral Andrew Okoji, who confirmed the approval, weekend, said the Federal Ministry of Transport has directed the firm to pay N1 billion, apparently to express its interest.
He said: ‘‘It is going to be a lease for about 50 years, the investment for the port is coming from abroad.
“We have gotten provisional approval from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation, as they have told us to lodge in $1 billion as evidence of capacity to fund the construction of the port and, to lodge in your money, there are certain protocols that must be met. We are currently carrying out these protocols.
“The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, is going to be part of the project. I think they are getting some percentage as regards to the equity. I think about per cent, just for monitoring purposes.
“I will tell you, you have been talking about Lekki Deep Seaport for the past 20 years, but I am telling you that within the next five years we will complete the construction of the port.’’
A transport consultant, Professor Charles Asenime, said that the proposed $2.9 billion seaport project which includes a deep seaport, free trade zone, crude oil refinery, and gas complex, would boost economic development.
Other components of the project include industrial layouts, an independent power plant, a nature conservation park, an international airport, and the development of prime infrastructure, new towns, and cities.