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Chief of Naval Staff replies Akassa Community’s Seaport reopen requests

…Calls on community to “Redirect request to NiPA.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Many have been done by way of scripting and visitations but only very little have been acknowledged on the consistent request to re-open Akassa Seaport by the Bekekiri Community of Akassa Brass, Bayelsa State.

The appeals for the urgent reopening have been communicated officially  and severally to relevant authorities, the recent being the request letter or correspondence addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Naval Headquarters, by the Bekekiri community. 

The importance of re-opening the Seaport push initiated by a foresighter, HRH King Ayubaemi Stephen, the Amadabo Bekekiri community, Akassa clan, are many, but critical to creation of jobs opportunity for teeming restless youths, among other things.

Indeed, multiple employment opportunities await young and old Nigerians through Akassa Seaport with far less financial consumption commitment by both state and federal governments, compared to such impending self huge revenue generating agency.

Reacting to the letter from the Bekekiri community, the CNS stated that the appeal and request for the urgent reopening of Akassa Seaport is beyond its jurisdiction and, therefore, urged the community to redirect the request to Nigerian Ports Anthony (NPA).

The CNS’ statement of respond made available to our correspondent reads in parts: “I am directed to convey the compliments of the CNS to His Royal Highness, King Ayubaemi Stephen, the Amadabo Bekekiri Community, and to also acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 6 August, 2020, on the above subject-matter.

“The Bekekiri Community had appealed to the Chief of the Naval Staff to assist in facilitating the reopening of the Akassa Port, which is a welcome idea, at least from a societal developmental point of view. 

“The depth of the channel leading to the Port, which averages 10 metres, is also a good basis for reopening the Port, as there may be no requirement for a major dredging of the channel.

“In spite of the aforementioned justification to reopen the Port, I am further directed to notify His Royal Highness of the CNS’ constraint to act as requested in your letter. 

“This is due to the extant Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act provisions on the Akassa Port, which would render any act of the CNS, as requested by the Community, ultra vires.

“This is because the NPA still has Akassa Port as one of its 7 ports in southeastern Nigeria. Specifically, the Second Schedule, Part II of the NPA establishment Act, has Akassa, Bonny, Degema, Forcados, Koko Town, Sapele, and Tiko ports as being administratively and operationally under the NPA. 

“Additionally, the NPA is empowered by S.8(a) of the same establishment Act to construct, execute, carry out, equip, improve, work and develop ports, docks, harbours, piers, wharves, canals, water courses, embankments and jetties.

“The Act further empowers the NPA in S.8(d) to act as consultant and adviser in relation to ports and port operations in Nigeria or in any part of the world. From the foregoing, therefore, the NPA is the appropriate agency of government empowered to address the plight of the community on the quest for reopening Akassa Seaport.” 

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