As part of efforts towards the realization of the Ibom Deep Seaport project, the Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport (IDSP) has held an engagement meeting with stakeholders of Oron federal constituency communities to further sensitize them on the opportunities the communities stand to gain from the project.
The event which took place at Oron Civic Center, Oron, Saturday, addressed issues such as naming of the seaport and location, the environmental and social impact assessment, employment opportunities as well as business opportunities of the project to the host communities.
Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who is also a member of the Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport, explained that Governor Udom Emmanuel who is poised towards the actualization of the Ibom Deep Seaport has not changed the name nor the location of the Seaport, calling on relevant stakeholders and communities in Oro nation to bury their differences as their interests have been duly accommodated.
“Akwa Ibom State under the able leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel has become the investor’s destination and is developing nationally and globally as a brand, therefore the name Akwa Ibom or the name Ibom is gaining popular currency in our country in Africa, and globally. The examples are Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Akwa Ibom State University, Ibom Air, thinking out of the amplification of the brand Ibom. “So let us come out of this tiny mindset, the seaport is off the coast of Unyenghe/Ibeno axis”, Ekuwem stated.
The Chairman, Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport, Barr. Mfon Usoro, who presented an overview of the project to stakeholders explained that the Deep Seaport occupying 14,500 hectares, comprises an Industrial City and a free trade zone that will foster economic development and create massive employment for the teeming youths in the state and country at large. “The impact of this port will go as far as Senegal, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Congo DRC. If that is the case, just imagine us the immediate recipients of the port”.
Barr. Usoro, who further stated that the Ibom Deep Seaport project will be actualized through a Public-Private Partnership(PPP) with Bollore, Power China Consortium as the preferred bidder for the project and will create massive employment opportunities, called on Akwa Ibom people to position themselves in other to invest in the business opportunities of Ibom Deep Seaport when it is operational.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon, a member of the Technical Committee(IDSP), revealed that Governor Emmanuel has made adequate arrangements for Akwa Ibom people especially the youths to acquire necessary skills in maritime. He added that discussions are ongoing with the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) to get a Maritime Faculty in the University.
Speaking on the Environmental and Social Impacts Assessment, Mr. Aniekan Ukpanah, another member of the Technical Committee, said that the procurement process for the IDSP has been one of the best by International standards.
Responding on behalf of the host communities in Oron Federal Constituency, the President-General of Oro Union, Bishop Etim Ante, thanked Governor Emmanuel for making concerted efforts to secure the operational license from the Federal Government for the seaport. Bishop Ante called on the state government to accommodate and integrate the interest of Oro people for the overall benefits of the communities.