The Chairman, Technical Committee on Ibom Seaport, Mrs Mfon Usoro, has explained to leadership of the host communities, that getting approval for the project through the Federal government, does not make it an entirely a federal government project.
Rather, that the committee was following due process since the project of such magnitude falls under the Exclusive List of the Federal government.
She disabused their minds during a stakeholders meeting held at Oro Union Secretariat at the weekend (Saturday).
It would be recalled that before now some persons from the host communities have started expressing fears that if the project is owned by the Federal government, certain benefits would be denied them. So, in order to allay such misconceptions, the committee had to put the records straight and solicit their full support and cooperation with would-be investors for the take off of the project.
“All the processes emanating from the Technical Committee were approved by the federal government because Port operations is captured under Exclusive List of the federal government.
” Everything we do under this project is approved by the federal government as the project spans through 14,800 square meters of the dry land on Oron sea shore away from the Atlantic Ocean. The Federal Executive Council gave approval on 16, December 2020.”
” The procurement process of Ibom Deep Sea Port has been adjudged to be the best and adopted by federal government”
She said the state government was passionate about the project and urged the host Communities of Ibom Deep Sea Port to cooperate with the smooth take off of the project without further delay as the interest of the area and the entire state were accommodated in the venture.
Usoro called on the host communities to weigh the option of the benefits of the project against opposing stance of some persons under the guise of suspicion and other confrontational tendencies that may discourage foreign investors in the project.
She briefed the stakeholders on detailed components of the Sea Port Design to include 10 terminals, Marine Service Centre, Industrial City and other facilities that attract neighbouring countries such as Gabon, Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea as well as other coastal counties in West African region.
On his part, the Secretary to the State Government Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who is from the area, lamented the animosity within the host communities as a result of the name and location of the project, adding that such matters should not arise at the early stage of the project.
Ekuwem explained that the name changes from “Ibaka Deep Sea Port” to ” Ibom Deep Sea Port ” was done in good faith to reflect rebranding of state-owned projects and institutions as obtained in other state-owned facilities.
He listed such projects and institutions as “Ibom Air”, “Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osura”, “Akwa Ibom State University -AKSU”, ” Ibom Hotels And Golf Resort” saying that rebranding government institutions and projects by the governor was in order.
He maintained that; the intention was not to short-changed the host Communities as widely speculated in social media but to give a status brand to government facilities.
Ekuwem emphasized that, he can not be part of such politics to shortchanged his people being a bona fide son of Oro Nation and the site of the Deep Sea Port in particular and encouraged youths of the host Communities to prepare for opportunities that would be provided by Sea Port through businesses and employment.
” Why the name of Ibaka Deep Sea Port was changed to Ibom Deep Sea Port was to build a brand name for state owned institutions. Therefore, the nomenclature of the port of the port was a non issue. I have explained this to Oro people in 17 fora where stakeholders met to brainstorm on this name. ”
” The social media should desist from blackmail and cross check facts to have balanced information for the public instead of falsehood and propaganda about the name and location of Ibom Deep Sea Port.” he said
Earlier, the Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Sea Project Mr Akan Okon, said over 300,000 jobs would be provided by the Ports to Akwa Ibom youths and urged the host Communities to focus on positive impacts while planning to be relevant at the port than showing negative attitudes.
” It would attract many Industries to the state. I believe that there would be a balance sheet in terms of employment in our state “he said.