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Location of Ibom deep seaport not influenced, govt clarifies

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Location of the Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City was informed by viability and accessibility, the Akwa Ibom State government has clarified.

The Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon, was reacting to allegations from a section of Oron people that the project was relocated from Ibaka Bay due to a reported gang-up against the ethnic group.

He maintained that different sites were considered prior to the final choice that transverses Mbo and Ibeno Councils of the state, adding that the explanation became necessary to disabuse the minds of the citizens and ensure a conducive environment for the scheme and core investors.

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Okon said government could not afford to play ethnic card with such a gigantic project, considering its economic importance to the people of the state and Nigerians.

He said: “We have been engaging and will continue to engage the people so that they will understand that there are no sentiments attached to a project of that magnitude. The site was eventually chosen after studies based on viability and accessibility.

“The studies were done by experts based on outlined business case done during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and this was before Udom Emmanuel became governor. So, there can’t be any sentiment to this.”

Noting that while the site was about 20 nautical miles from the Deep Sea Trade Route, the commissioner stated that the competitors could take up to 75 nautical miles to access the path.

He added that though the seaport covered about 2,500 hectares of land, much of the industrial city, covering over 14,000 hectares, and the headquarters of the port would be located around the Mbo axis of the complex.

Okon continued: “Just like you have in Lagos, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) 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 Mbo axis.”

On the status of the facility, the commissioner said the relevant committee was awaiting approval of the feasibility studies.

He urged cooperation from the host communities.

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