STAKEHOLDERS GIVE REASONS WHY SEAPORT SHOULD BE IN IBENO
Major Stakeholders in Ibeno LGA including the Paramount Ruler of the area, HRM Owong (Dr.) Effiong B. Archianga (JP) have given reasons why it is pertinent for the Ibom Deep Seaport project to be relocated from Mbo LGA to Ibeno LGA.
This is contained in a Press Release by Ibeno Clan Council.
IBENO CLAN COUNCIL
1.The Honourable Minister,
Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja.
2. His Excellency, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel,
The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State
3. The Chairperson,
Akwa Ibom State Technical Committee On
Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City,
RE: LOCATION OF IBOM DEEP SEAPORT IN IBENO: OFFICIAL REACTION OF THE PEOPLE OF IBENO
The people of lbeno have largely kept a dignified silence over the unnecessary uproar raised by some persons of Oro extraction of Akwa Ibom State concerning the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to site Ibom Deep Seaport in Ibeno. It was our sincere hope that such uproar and furore would soon give way to reason, especially as the State Government has on several occasions offered explanations why the said Deep Seaport should be located in lbeno.
Sadly, instead of accepting the explanations given by the Government, Oro nation has continued to deploy every available platform in their bid to paint not only the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Akwa Ibom State in bad light, but also castigate Ibeno, calling our people names and generally throwing all cautions to the wind in their vaunted attempt to force the government to site the project at Oro nation.
Suffice us therefore to react to these childish, unfounded, spurious and puerile claims before the general public is misled into thinking that there exists any single sense in those claims
First of all, the people of lbeno wish to thank the Honourable Minister of Transportation and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State for making sure that the right thing is done in the overall interest of the people of Akwa Ibom State by siting the Deep Seaport where it would be economically feasible and viable, and also for their sense of maturity so far in the handling of this matter. We wish to reassure you that the choice of Ibeno for the Deep Seaport project is not misplaced. Ibeno Local Government Area is blessed with natural resources and plays host to several oil producing companies which makes it the highest income generating Local Government Area in the State. The Local Government Area also lies at a strategic position, bordering directly with the Atlantic Ocean, with immediate access to the sea depth which is a natural requirement for siting of a world class port.
Aware of the huge potential which nature has endowed our people, we are always committed to providing a comfortable, amiable and conducive environment which are a requisite to attract and encourage diverse business interests to our domain. Our resolve to remain the most peaceful oil producing area in the Niger Delta Region is unshakable.
It is in the light of the foregoing that we wish to make the following facts clear and available to the general public:
1. That Ibeno is one of the largest Local Govemment Areas in Akwa Ibom State, far larger than Mbo Local Government Area in terms of landmass, and also has the longest sea band or ocean floor in West Africa, a total of 120 kilometres in all. The attempt by some persons of Oro Extraction to describe Ibeno as a small Local Government Area therefore smacks of ignorance at best and sheer display of folly at worst. We also view it as a calculated attempt by the Oro Nation to hoodwink the general public and cast bad publicity over a project that has the capacity to place Akwa Ibom State at the World Map.
2. That the choice of Ibeno for the purpose of locating the Deep Seaport was borne out of expert studies and purely scientific considerations among which include proximity to the Deep Sea Trade Route, nearness to the natural draught for the project which stands at 17.5 metres natural depth, minimal environmental and social impacts, low research and technical solutions, minimal need for soil improvement, accessibility. The soil analysis conducted by expert firms, including Transaction Advisers, FELAC Concept and Marine and Transport Business Solutions MBTS, of Netherlands, all showed that the port project would not be commercially viable if sited at Ibaka due to its long distance from the sea. Instead, after a rigorous and painstaking scientific process, MTBS had recommended Ibeno as the most suitable location for the project to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
3. That the total project area required for location of the Deep Seaport spans across five villages in Ibeno viz: Okposo I, Okposo II, Okomita, Itioesek and Itak Idim Nne Ekpe. In contrast to the disingenuous claims by the Oro Nation that pipelines criss-cross the area and would involve huge cost to relocate, we state categorically that ExxonMobil has two (2) pipelines connecting from Qua Iboe Terminal to its loading bay at IDOHO platform, and that is very far away from the proposed location of the Deep Seaport. There is absolutely no pipeline to relocate and there is no other oil company operating near the proposed Deep Seaport area.
4. That there are only two flare torches in the hinterland of Ibeno, which of course, is far from the Deep Seaport location and cannot affect the project. If gas flaring were to be the criteria for siting of such project, then a place like Onne in Rivers State would not have hosted a massive Port given the numerous flare torches docking the entire area and environs.
5. That the Federal Government has designated the area approved for the Deep Seaport project in Ibeno as a Licence Free Trade Zone. The magnitude of that proposal and the benefits thereof places Ibeno at the foreground of the developmental strides that Akwa Ibom State hopes to make in the foreseeable future. In recent time, there has been an upscale in interests to increase the Energy Infrastructure in Ibeno. Siting the Deep Seaport in Ibeno therefore becomes far more beneficial for all concerned as a natural hub for import and export of Petroleum and other Allied Products. Surely, there exists nowhere else better than the choice of Ibeno for the Deep Seaport project.
6. That the Deep Seaport is only a part of an entire Industrial City. While the Deep Seaport covers about 2,500 hectares of land, much of the Industrial City covering about 14,000 hectares of land would be located around Mbo Local Government Area forming an entire Industrial Complex. There is no need for the unnecessary contention and selfish clamouring by the Oro Nation over a project whose choice of location was devoid of sentiments.
7. That as we have already stated, Ibeno is stupendously blessed by nature. As Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State rise to the challenge of maximizing and appropriating the full potentials of the rich oil and gas resources which our nation is blessed with, it is no one’s doing and certainly, no one can stop the fact, that Ibeno becomes the destination of preference owing to its rich resources and natural positioning. It is on this note that we therefore encourage all citizens of Akwa Ibom State to join hands to build the necessary infrastructure that will bring prosperity and well-being to all our people.
8 That we advise the Oro Nation to sheath their sword and act on the side of caution, not forgetting that we share the same ancestry and ought to treat each other with respect. That fact has informed our attitude and conduct all along. We will continue to conduct ourselves in the best manner and to ensure that our Community remains a peaceful, peace loving, friendly, hospitable and accommodating to attract all manners of investment into our land, even as we believe that this will be in the overall interest of Akwa Ibom State in particular, and Nigeria as a whole.
9. Once again, we wish to use this medium to thank the Honourable Minister for Transportation, H.E Rotimi Amaechi and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, H. Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel for choosing Ibeno for a project of this magnitude We continue to assure the Government of our unalloyed support for the growth an development of our dear State and country Nigeria.
Signed for themselves and on behalf of the entire good people of Ibeno:
HRM OWONG (DR.) EFFIONG B. ARCHIANGA (JP),
FCE, FCAI, FCIPDM, ALIMA, ALAMA, FIOGR.
Akwaha Owong Ibeno,
Udammung 1 of Ibeno-Land,
Life Chairman, MPNU Host Communities of Nigeria,
Paramount Ruler, Ibeno Local Government Area,
Former Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers’ Council,
Fmr. National President Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing
Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) & Grand Patron of Ngba Ndiak Obolo Worldwide.
OBONGANWAN ETA IBOK
President – Mpoho Mbong Atip Ibeno &
Vice President, Ibeno Women Forum
HON. (ELD.) IKOEDEM H. EKONG
President General Mpoho Ndito Ibeno (ENI)
MR. KINGSLEY A. ASUQUO
Ibeno Youth President Forum
CHIEF OKON UDOFIA OKON-(UNA-I)
Ibeno Clan Council Secretary II
MR. HARRY E. MOSES
President General, Ulok Utok People’s Assembly
BARR. DIAMOND AKPANIKA
Ngba Ndiak Obolo Worldwide.