Economic viability rather than sentiments would influence the choice of the site of the Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial city project.

This is the position of the Akwa Ibom State Government which in addition to operating a successful airline known as Ibom Air is dreaming of a new industrial city.

The  Akwa Ibom State Government through the Commissioner responsible for Economic Development, Akan Okon is insisting that the new location chosen for the construction of the industrial city and Seaport which the Oron nation opposes is very ideal.

The Oron nation had on Tuesday disagreed with the state government over the relocation of the project and also disagreed with the change of the name of the Port.

Until recently, the name of the Ibom Deep Seaport was known as the Ibaka Deep Seaport.

Vexed by the decision of the State Government, the Oron nation stressed that it would not accept an official position which makes mockery of its interest in relation to the establishment of the seaport.

But Mr Akan Okon dismissed the allegation by a segment of the Oron nation which suggests that the original location of the seaport at “Ibaka Bay” was moved due to alleged sentiments against the people of Oron by other groups in the state.

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Okon who spoke Thursday disclosed that different locations were indeed considered by experts before the location which transversed both Mbo and Ibeno local government areas were selected.

The commissioner emphasized that it has become necessary to explain the reason behind the choice of the approved location.

He said the aim was to disabuse the minds of those who may be misinformed in order to ensure a condusive environment for the developement of the Seaport by core investors.

Earlier, Okon had remarked that five points along the Oron/Mbo/Ibeno coastline were considered for the execution of the project.

According to him, at the end of Study embarked on by experts, the ‘seaside’ location was selected based on considerations which include nearness to deep sea trade route, minimal environmental impact, ample space for the construction of the industrial city.

The commissioner further hinted that low maintenance cost after the project is complete, minimal social impact, low research and technical solutions, limited population and nautical accessibility were other factors which were considered.

The new location chosen for the project would be about 20 nautical miles from the deep sea trade route while the other points which were discarded could take up to 75 nautical miles to access the trade route.

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Based on projections made by the experts, the seaport will cover about 2,500 hectares while most of the industrial city covering over 14,000 hectares of land would be located around the Mbo axis of the complex.

“Just like you have in Lagos, the Nigerian Ports Authority is in Lagos Island while the Port itself is in Apapa. So the main structure of the Port is in the seaside area while the headquarters is in the Mbo axis,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, while Akwa State, with an airline that has come to stay is struggling to build a deep seaport of its own, complete with an industrial city, its Rivers counterpart is scoffing at the intention of the Federal Government to establish a deep seaport in Bonny that will cost it nothing.

Governor Nyesom Wike is saying that the federal projects earmarked for Rivers State will not see the daylight.

Many Observers see it as evidence of his unwillingness to partner with the Federal authorities to actualize the construction of the Bonny Deep Seaport and other projects.

The Bonny Seaport which is expected to take advantage of Nigeria’s deep sea trade route is among a new generation of deep seaports conceived by the Federal Government.

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One of the new seaports is already being constructed at Lekki while approval has been given for the take off of work in Port Harcourt and Warri.

“The Greater Port Harcourt project which was in the works before the Amaechi administration left office has been abandoned by Governor Nyesom Wike. See how the Akwa Ibom State Government is trying to build an industrial city that will benefit the people.

“Wike continues to embark on projects which will not grow the State economy and put food on the table of Rivers people.
“Since he sees everything from the lens of politics, he cannot even understand that other states in the South South are leaving Rivers behind”, Ogbonna Nwuke, a former member of the House of Representatives noted.

“Imo State which is next door has encouraged the construction of a modular refinery while Rivers which has had an oil bloc for years has done nothing.

“In fact, Imo State with its development partners has successfully embarked on a second refinery while Governor Wike quarrels with his tools and dances with Rochas Okorocha after a couple of drinks”, the former lawmaker who doubles as the Spokesman of the APC in Rivers State added.