Nigeria may lose $27.2bn investment in Escravos seaport, says lead promoter

Delta has revalidated approval for Escravos seaport project, says lead promoter Delta has revalidated approval for Escravos seaport project, says lead promoter

Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) says Nigeria is on the verge of losing $27.29 billion investment in Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) project in Delta state and seven other states by the end of June.

In a statement on Tuesday, Andrew Okoja, whose firm is the concept developer and lead promoter of the ESIC project, said the offer may be lost due to the prolonged delay of final approval for the project’s take-off from the federal government and Delta state.

He said the investors are ready to commit funds for the commencement of the project.

Okoja added that the slow pace in providing the necessary approvals may lead to Nigeria missing out on the desired creation of job opportunities for the citizens.


“EDIB International of Hong Kong had early this year expressed its willingness to invest USD $27.29bn to develop the ESIC project whose deep seaport will be located in Escravos (Gbaramatu Island/Omadino) Warri south-west local government area of Delta state; a development to be effected through joint venture partnership (JVP) with a Nigerian firm Mercury Maritime Concession Company Limited (MMCC),” Okoja said.

“In its first commitment letter dated 19/01/2024 communicated to MMCC through Chief Kwame Springer the Chairman of EDIB International Ltd the financing company and their consultancy Blue Dot Wealth Limited, outlined EDIB International group’s risk assessment and requirements for successful funding to be granted demanded the securing and protection of their investment by a guarantee of the federal government to control the proliferation of free trade zone in the country.

“It will be recalled that the development of Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) project commenced in 2019 and aims to develop 31,000 hectares of Delta state land into a deep seaport, crude oil refinery, gas complex, independent power plant (IPP), airport, nature park, etc.”



Okoja said the project is a development that promises to massively open up the states involved, including Abuja, to international investment in trade, commerce and industry.

“ESIC will transform Delta state economy and those of ESIC beneficiary states from a rural-driven economy with sprinklings of urban development to a metropolis-driven economy of international dimension,” he said.

“ESIC project is a non-solicited public-private partnership (PPP) driven project regulated by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) laws of the federal government of Nigeria.


“It is modelled after the Lekki Deep Seaport/Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to serve the marine/economic interest of the Niger Delta, eastern and some northern states of the country specifically to solve the perennial port congestion problems in Nigeria.”


The promoter said the ESIC project is complementary to the ongoing Lagos – Calabar coastal road, adding that the protection sought is a 50-year renewable concession lease.

Okoja said this concession must be extended to 99 years for all other infrastructure and land to build own operate and transfer (BOOT) of ESIC deep seaport – a free trade zone project — which the federal government provisional approval was granted to MMCC in November 2020.


“Secondly, it is also consequent upon the May 2022 Delta state government (DTSG) expression of willingness (provisional approval) to lease 31,000 hectares of land located at Escravos and Omadino to MMCC to host the entire ESIC project,” he said.

“The uniqueness of ESIC/ESIC deep seaport/Free Trade Zone (FTZ) development is that it incorporates the development of road, rail and marine connectivity approach to the hinterland destinations in order to optimize cargo flow through to ESIC/ESIC deep seaport that will see (1). The construction of a road from Warri Sapele Expressway linking at a point near Koko junction – (45 kilometres). ROAD: ESIC seaport – Warri Sapele Expressway to link at a point near Koko junction – (45 kilometres).


“The construction of rail from ESIC seaport to Warri – (45 kilometres) to join the existing Warri – Ajaokuta – Itakpe and the construction of Itakpe – Abuja (New 90 kilometres rail construction) to terminate at a port district which will host the development of Abuja Dry Port.

“Marine Highway: the opening of the marine highway (River Niger Canal) from ESIC seaport to Baro in Niger State (600 kilometres). This will include the construction of (7) seven inland/dry port that will be serviced by rail and located thus: Bayelsa state (Nun River), Imo state (Oguta Lake), Delta State (Okegbele), Ebu – Inyele Edo/Delta state (Idah), Kogi state and dry port (FCT – Abuja).


“These states will have equity ownership in ESIC projects by virtue of this shareholding status.”

Okoja, therefore, urged the federal government and Delta state to take advantage of the three weeks grace period before the expiration of this deadline to act otherwise the funds set aside for ESIC will be diverted to other needy African nations.

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