No Attempt, Plan to change Approved Port Location, Name – AKSG Technical Committee Clears Air
… Urges Nkpubre to Channel Strength into Youth training not Disinformation
By Tony Udoh
Following a recent interview by Engineer Nkpubre and published by different media platforms alleging that the Deep Seaport has been relocated from Ibaka to another location, the Akwa Ibom State Technical Committee on Ibom Deepsea Port and Ibom Industrial City has stated that there is no attempt or plan to change the approved Port Location or name.
In a detailed statement signed by the Chairperson of the committee, Mrs Mfon Paul Usoro, it noted that at no time was Ibom DeepSea Port located at Ibaka as the Federal Government never approved Ibaka as the location of the deep sea port in the first place.
It maintained that the approval for the location and construction of a deep seaport is constitutionally the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government of Nigeria; adding that there is no existing document that indicates that the Federal Government had located the Deepsea port in Ibaka at any time.
According to the statement, in May 2015, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the Outline Business Case and Commencement of Procurement Phase of Ibom Deepsea Port which culminated to approval of the Full Business Case obtained by Governor Udom led Administration reflecting location and name of the project as earlier approved by the Federal Government.
“There was no attempt to change the previously approved port location and name. The AKSG Technical Committee set up by H.E. Governor Udom do not have the authority nor mandate to change the location of the port or the name of the port as approved by the Federal Government in 2015 pursuant to the recommendations in the OBC produced by the previous administration.
“It is most unfortunate and unkind that Engr Nkpubre with the facts at his disposal which demonstrates the scientific approach in the OBC employed by the independent foreign experts engaged by H.E. Governor Akpabio would levy such spurious allegations against the administration that is widely credited for having secured the FEC approval of the OBC and indeed the entire Ministerial Committee that approved and recommended adoption of the OBC to the then Minister of Transportation.
“How was the OBC dated October 2014 on which recommendations the Federal Government approved the current seaside location of the port “cooked-up”, “false” and “dishonest”? The deliberate use of the misnomer “relocation” has clearly been proved to be a disinformation campaign intended to whip up sentiments. How is it possible to relocate a port from Ibaka if the Federal Government never approved Ibaka as the location of the deepsea port in the first place?, it added.
While decrying the unwholesome behaviours of some people capable of truncating the project, it stressed that though the Ibom Deepsea Port and Ibom Industrial City will benefit the generality of Akwa Ibom people, those of the Oro Nation extraction will be the greatest beneficiaries.
“It has been brought to Engr Nkpubre’s attention that 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.
“Almost the entirety of the Ibom Industrial City is located in Mbo. Developments in the Ibom Industrial city will commence prior to the construction of the port.
“Finally, Engr Nkpubre is aware of other competing port projects as it is his wish that “By this time other Deep Sea Port might have been operational.” while the port development in Akwa Ibom is truncated, does he imagine that Oron youths and experts will have employment in those out of State ports? He should sheath his sword and direct his funds and influence to the training of Oron youths and get them ready and equipped for employment even at the consultancy and construction phase of the port development,” it stated.