Akwa Ibom clarifies controversial issues concerning Ibom Deep Seaport | Dailytrust

Akwa Ibom clarifies controversial issues concerning Ibom Deep Seaport

Ibom Deep Seaport
Ibom Deep Seaport

The Chairperson, Akwa Ibom State Government Technical Committee on Ibom Deepsea Port and Ibom Industrial City, Mrs. Mfon Usoro, has faulted the position of Chief Edet Nkpubre on the controversy surrounding the Deep Seaport project in the state, describing Mkpubre’s position on behalf of the Oro ethnic nationality as false and grossly misleading.

According to Mrs Usoro, the claim that the Seaport has been relocated from Ibaka amounts to disinformation as the facts on the ground reveals that at no time was Ibom Deep Sea Port located at Ibaka.

“Approval for the location and construction of a deep seaport is constitutionally the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government of Nigeria. There is not in existence a document that indicates the Federal Government located the Deepsea port in Ibaka at any time”.

“In May 2015, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the Outline Business Case and Commencement of Procurement Phase of Ibom Deepsea Port. The Outline Business Case was presented at FEC by the then Minister of Transportation upon recommendation by the Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee (MPDSC). The MPDSC chaired by the Ministry of Transportation comprises of several relevant Federal Government agencies including the project proponent, Akwa Ibom State,” she noted.

Mrs Usoro explained further that the MPDSC approved the OBC submitted to it by the consultants (Felak/MBTC) that were engaged by the Administration of Godswill Akpabio who is credited with having obtained the FEC approval for the OBC in 2015.

‘The OBC expressly recommended the current seaside location of the port project and the current name of the port to the FEC for approval. MTBS is a reputable international maritime consultancy company. It subjected the 5 locations (Oron, Tom Shot, Okposo, West Point and Seaside) proposed for the location of the Ibom Deepsea Port to a rigorous scientific process which recommended the Seaside as the most suitable location for the port

“Oron , Tom Shot, Okposo – Ibaka, West Point are located from the Cross River estuary towards the inland river while the recommended and approved location abuts the sea. The seaside location is referenced by Engr Nkpubre as Ibeno in his interview. Other than the studies by the MBTS and previously by Worley Parsons, there is no record of studies commissioned by the Akwa Ibom State Government to identify and compare the suitability of possible locations for the deepsea port. None of the aforementioned scored Ibaka as the preferred location,” she submitted.

Continuing, Mrs Usoro stated that, “It was the impression of AKSG Technical Committee on Ibom Deepsea Port and Ibom Industrial City who have been buffeted by Engr Nkpubre’s consistent opposition that he may not have the correct information at his disposal. Consequently, the AKSG Technical Committee on Ibom Deepsea Port and Ibom Industrial City engaged Engr Nkpubre directly and furnished him the information above and more including several diagrams and satellite photos from the OBC for
him to be properly educated on the matter”.

She observed that Engr Nkpubre has been corrected several times that the document he keeps referring which was allegedly produced by the Felak/MTBS in 2013 is not the final draft OBC that was submitted to the MPDSC and subsequently presented by the Minister of Transportation to the FEC.

“It is curious that Engr Nkpubre has chosen to ignore the caveat printed in bold by the authors of the draft he hangs his arguments on even though his attention had been drawn to it. The caveat states that “Further research on all characteristics required to make fully founded location selection.”

On Mkpubre’s allegation that investors are “fronts”, Mrs Usoro noted that the preferred bidders are reputable international companies with no Nigerian ownership and that Engr Nkpubre is invited to engage forensic experts to conduct due diligence on the companies.

She advised that the ultimate beneficiaries of the deepseaport and industrial city will be the Oron community and youths and as such, conversely, disruption of or stopping the project will hurt the Oron youths and community the most as Lagos ports are located in Apapa, yet the economic development impact of the port is felt hundreds of kilometers away from Apapa beyond Ogun State let alone a shouting distance from the seaside to Mbo – a Local Government of Oron people and almost the entirety of the Ibom Industrial City is located in Mbo, even as developments in the Ibom Industrial city will commence prior to the construction of the port.

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