By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The promise by President Muhammad Buhari administration to create millions job opportunity for the teaming youth may not be a dream pipe or a myriad as being speculated in some quarters by million Nigerians. Alhough, the impression has ganined popularly and had been projected in so many part of country by people of like minds in different faith and believe unchallenged.
The prediction cut across religions and ethnic boundary by those who have not seen any possibility in the age long “governoment propaganda”, as described by many.
What perhaps, may be lacking however, could be ideas that would drive home the process to actualize the good intentions of the administration for the overall benefit of the nation’s jobless ppopulation of young people.
In garvanising this ideas, reference must be made to the opportunities available for immediate exploitation in the country because of the urgency the situation deserved, among others.
In working toward realizing this opportunities, government must not overlook resources endowed in various regions and sectors in the economy that required to be harness and explore equitably.
For instance, there is urgent need for the reopening of the Akassa Seaport in Bekeriri community in Akassa Clan in Brass Local Government area of Bayelsa state.
The urgent need to reopen the Akassa Seaport by relevant authorities especially federal government is not only an utmost important in job creation but also imperative, considering the general global acknowledgement of Ports as agent of development.
Aside the capacity to create multiple Jobs opportunity for the teaming youths, the Akassa Seaport will generate revenue for the Bayelsans and Bayelsa State, Federal Government among others, and bring new level of development to entire region and Nigeria in general, when fully in operational.
Historically, Akassa Clan is a coastal territory which falls within latitude 402’N and 404’N, and longitude 6020’E and 4040’E. Akassa has one of West Africa’s tallest light
houses. It was used as entrance marker to the Akassa Port and a navigational aid
for maritime pilots at sea. An architectural piece of hexagonal skeletal tower with steps and gallery.
Akassa light house was built in 1910. From the Admiralty
list of light and Fog signals, indicating that Akassa light house focal plane
is about 65m (213ft) with a white flash of every 10s.
The natives of Akassa have unflinching support for the reopening of the seaport for obvious reasons, that globally, ports are acknowledged as agency of development.
Even the request by the people of Akassa for the reopening of Akassa seaport is precipitated on the fact that ports are globally acknowledged as development agents. Therefore it cannot be over emphasized to state that Akassa Seaport will not only improved Bayelsa State fortunes, but variety of jobs when the Sea land interfaced and structured.
Further more the Seaport will once again bring back the glory of the port that indeed, once served as gateway of Nigeria’s Trans-Atlantic trade which brought the country to fame and wealth, when fixed and reopened.
“We the people of Bekekiri community in Akassa Clan, Bayelsa state and Nigeria in general are certain to become a new economic growth poles that will attract investors, professionals, artisans seeking opportunities to harness trade and commerce.
“Hence we appeal to the Ministry of Environment to partner with other legislative framework and regulatory Bodies like Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Infrastructure Concession
Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency (NIMASA), Customs and Excise and Ministry of Interior.
“We the Traditional rulers, Chiefs, Elders, CD.C., Youths and the entire people
of Akassa clan are convinced that re-opening of Akassa seaport is a legitimate
one, long-overdue, and when opened under God, will continue to contribute
immensely to the sustenance, development and prosperity of our people and Nigeria as a whole”, the people of Bekeriri and the traditional ruler, HRH, KING Ayubami Stephena have stated.
Pertinent to also mention here are the great explorers who made the Akassa Port so important and how the mouth of the River Niger was discovered by Mungo Park, Clapperion, the Lander Brothers, Barth, Oudney and Dr. Baildie.
Akassa Port became so important in Nigeria and the world at large when it was discovered that Nun entrance in Akassa was the mouth of River Niger.
Lander Brothers, Richard Lander and John Lander made it to Asaba, later Abo and
Solu, where Bayelsa and Rivers are in dispute over oil well today. They employed the scrvices of Kulo, King of Nembe in 1830 where they finally reached Akassa Port and Captain Brigg Thomas took them to England via
Fenendo Po, now Equatorial Guinca.as shown in the first British map.
In December 31 1899, the Royal charter was revoked and the British govemment took direct control of Akassa seaport. There were some important items like the Marine Dockyard that were removed to Foreados.
In 1928, Akassa Seaport was jeintly operated with the Wari Port which was headquartered in Oweri
province, Degema division.
Akassa was first owned and operated by John Holt
Transport, a British Colonial shipping firm. It was later operated by the United
African Company, UAC, of Nigeria. But all Ports were later rehabilitated to standard
form but were under the management of Nigerian Ports Authority.
Nigerian Ports Authority was established by the British Govemment and controlled from 1955-1960. The Nigerian state is, by virtue of the NPA Act, Section S(x) is under obligation to construct, equip, execute, improve, work and develop port harbours and operate facilities in ports including the maintenance, joint ventures, inmprovement and regulation of the use of ports.
By 1969, a decree that took control of Burutu, Calabar and Akassa Port took charge from John Holt and UAC. The decree also empowered their coporations to enter an agreement with the World Bank to finance some ports in Nigeria thereby abandoning Akassa seaport.
Even the traditional institutions and council also believe in the viability of the seaport in creating job opportunity if reopened. “We the Traditional Rulers, Chiefs, Elders, the concerned people of Akaasa Clan
Community Development Committee, CDC, Youths bodies, Women groups
and the entire people of Bekekiri Community in Akassa Clan, conscious of our
historical mission to improve the lots of our people, hereby state or demand for
the re-opening of Akassa Scaport.
European countries stimulated the development of Sesports and British Government led the way to establish and introduce protectorates, seaports and
terminals in areas like Lagos in 1874, Akassa in 1883, Bonny in 1893, Calber
in 1891, Port Harcourt in 1899, among others”, they stated.
The British also categorized all their ports as western ports such as Apapa Port, Lagos port, Tin-Can Island Port Complex with tenminals. While Bastens Ports are also known to the British people as getewray ports. The British people ais established ports called dry ports which are in Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, Jos Abia and Katsina states respectively. They plan to link thcse land ports to scaporis by rail.
Since 1830 Akassa has become headquarters of the trading empires like John
Holt, the Millers Brothers, Macgregor laid, Dempster and Company, Glasgow, and Liverpool and James Pinnok trade in Akassa clan. By 1877, George Dashwood Goldie Taubman, an English merchant under the Niger and Oil
River, organized the United Africa Company (UAC) which conhined British traders active in the Niger Delta region and, in effect, took contrul of he Niger Kiver.
The (UAC) Company was renamed National African Company (NAC) in 1882 and Royal Niger Company (RNC) on the 10 July 1886. That was the year the company received a charter, placing it formally under Britisb protection.
The charter lasted from 1886 to l899. End