By Benson Ezugwu
Calabar – The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Cross River Government have entered discussion on how to tackle the challenge posed by the proliferation of illegal settlements around the Calabar Port.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mrs Hadiza Usman, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
Usman expressed concern over the springing up of residential buildings around the port and said that if unchecked, could hamper operations of the port.
“The governor has raised concern over the illegal settlements around the port and he has assured us of his commitment to restraining such settlements from proliferating.
“We have observed that there are settlements that are actually illegal and the state government needs to do something to remove them,” she said.
Usman however lauded the cordial relationship between Calabar port management and the host communities, especially the traditional institutions.
“We appreciate what is being done here. We appreciate the support from the host communities.
“I will single out the Obong of Calabar for his role in ensuring a peaceful relationship with Calabar port management,” she said.
She appealed to the Federal Ministry of Works to expand the federal roads linking Cross River with states in the North East and North Central zones of the country.
The managing director said expansion of the roads had become necessary for easy movement of trucks from the port which she said was expected to be dredged in no distant time.
“We want the relevant authorities to expand the federal roads linking Cross River with other states in the North East and North Central regions.
“This is to enable big trucks carrying cargoes from the port to convey them to these areas.
“We are also working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation to ensure that the coastal rail project is extended to Calabar port so that we can have seamless cargo evacuation.
As we look forward to the dredging of the port, we expect increased volume of vessels coming into the port,” she said.
Usman said that the plan for the dredging of the port was at an advanced stage, adding that as soon the contract was awarded it would be made public.