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Udom charges communities to treasure intervention industries

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has charged communities where public or private industries are sited to see themselves as the primary beneficiaries and protect such concerns from vandals.

He gave the charge during the inauguration of a shipyard and unveiling of a new security boat, MV Norfin Swift by an indigene of the state, Charles Udonwa in Oruk Anam Council.

Udom’s admonition followed a recent attack on the Norfin Offshore Shipyard Limited, a ship building facility located along Imo River estuary by a militant group.

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He pledged the state government’s readiness to partner the Norfin Group, and commended Udonwa, a Singaporean based ship builder for siting the shipyard in the state, noting that the move was worthy of emulation.

“Today marks a new beginning in the Gulf of Guinea and we won’t take this for granted. This is worthy of emulation and I hope the host community will behave well.

“We share your pains in the last attack and we will do whatever we can as a government to ameliorate that pain. Locating this facility here is for the benefit of the entire country,” he said.

Speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was represented by the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jerry Abba, assured of Federal Government’s readiness to partner with the company.

On his part, Udonwa thanked the state government for creating an investment-friendly climate in the state, saying his company’s presence would help Akwa Ibom to become a major player in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

He noted that the successes of few Nigerians in providing maritime assets to support the Nigerian oil and gas industry had been partly driven by Norfin Offshore.

“We have encouraged and provided up to 35 vehicles to our Nigerian partners from 2010 till date, which increased our participation in the value chain of crude oil exploration, drilling and production.

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“In all these, Akwa Ibom citizens have been the least involved in the provision of maritime assets to support oil and gas services in the country, but Norfin Offshore is changing that narrative,” he said.

He added that it was important for Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) and potential investors to note that purchasing a 40-metre crew and security vessel in the Asia Pacific, Europe or South Africa cost $4.5m and $2m transportation cost, customs and terminal charges, but the company could build the same vessel for $3.8m, thereby saving $2.7m.

Udonwa said the company was challenged by continuous attacks from militants and cult groups warring villages, which had made it difficult to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and lack of electricity supply to the area from which it could connect and access power.

Chief of the Naval Staff, who was represented by the Commander, Nigeria Navy NNS Jubilee, Ikot Abasi, Commodore Majid Ibrahim, Leader, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Udo Kierian Akpan and President of SOAN, Dr. Eke George, described the investment as historic.

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Udom Emmanuel
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