Ibom Deep Seaport: Ibeno Community lauds FG, Akwa Ibom State Government
… Says location economically feasible, viable
…Describes Oro’s grievance as misplaced, selfish
The Ibeno people occupying Ibeno Local Government of Akwa Ibom State have expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State Government and the Akwa Ibom State Government for choosing their area to host the proposed Ibom Deep Seaport.
The note of appreciation was conveyed through a letter addressed to the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, and the Akwa Ibom State Technical Committee On Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City.
The letter was jointly signed by HRM Owong (DR.) Effiong B. Archianga, Paramount Ruler, Ibeno LGA/ Former National President, Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON); Obonganwan Eta Ibok, President, Mpoho Mbong Atip Ibeno &
Vice President, Ibeno Women Forum; and Hon. (Eld.) Ikoedem H. Ekong, President General Mpoho Ndito Ibeno.
Other signatories are: Mr. Kingsley A. Asuquo,
President, Ibeno Youth President Forum; Chief Okon Udofia Okon, Ibeno Clan Council Secretary II; Mr. Harry E. Moses, President General, Ulok Utok People’s Assembly; and Barr. Diamond Akpanika, Legal Adviser, Ngba Ndiak Obolo Worldwide.
The letter said the area is a befitting location for the project: “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….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.”
The letter insisted that “Ibeno is one of the largest Local Government 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.”They said “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 letter further noted that “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.”
They debunked claims that the Oro axis of the state has been excluded from the project:
“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.”
The people also refuted claims that gas flares and oil pipelines in Ibeno would be detrimental to the project: “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 Ibom Deep Seaport area. 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.”
Ibeno urged “Oro Nation to sheath their sword and act on the side of caution” and remember that they share the same ancestry and ought to treat each other with respect.
They enjoined Akwa Ibom people “to join hands to build the necessary infrastructure that will bring prosperity and well-being to all our people.”