The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, says that Federal Government has made provision of N1 billion in the 2017 budget for the development of Ibaka deep seaport in Akwa Ibom. Mr. Osinbajo said this in Uyo on Thursday while addressing a Townhall meeting of the government and people of the state. The acting president’s visit was part of his consultation with people in the Niger Delta on how to maximise the gains of oil resources in the region.
The acting president, who was responding to myriads of complaints and requests by the people, said that budgetary provisions had also been made for the Itu – Calabar federal highway in 2016. Mr. Osinbajo said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was working with Amnesty Office to accommodate more youth from Akwa Ibom into the Amnesty Programme.
“I have heard all the requests. We must trust and give this government the patience that is required to put things right.
“We are working on modular refineries. Power stations must be established here. We must make our oil producing communities hub of petrochemical and gas industries.
“We must attract private investments. The biggest benefit is to attract more private investments to the state,” Mr. Osinbajo advised.
The acting president regretted that the blessings of oil wealth had not touched the majority of the people in the oil bearing communities. He said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was working on several incentives for the oil producing communities. Mr. Osinbajo also directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to liaise with the oil multinationals operating in the state on the modalities to relocate their headquarters following repeated requests.
The acting president promised to partner with the state government to establish technology hub in the state while advising the people to be resourceful and innovative. He noted that the future depended on innovation and the ability to harness what we have for development. In his presentation earlier, the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, appealed to the Federal Government to support the Ibaka deep seaport. The governor also requested the Federal Government to partner with the state to establish a logistics centre for oil and gas operations. Mr. Emmanuel appealed to the Federal Government to resolve the ownership problem in the Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) to enable the state benefit from it.
The governor, who described the acting president as a development partner and leader, appealed to the Federal Government to allocate oil and gas block to indigenes of the state. Speaking on behalf of oil producing communities, a former Minister of Lands and Housing, Nduese Essien, lamented that the state had nothing to show for being the highest oil producer.
Mr. Essien suggested that the coastal railway project of the Federal Government should pass through Oron- Eket- Ikot Abasi routes. He called on the Federal Government to correct the anomaly in the section four of the East-West spanning Onna and Eket in Akwa Ibom. In his presentation, the state leader, Pan Niger Delta Forum, Idongesit Nkanga, urged the federal government to partner with the state government to complete the hangar at the Akwa Ibom Airport. Mr. Nkanga called for the speedy completion of the East-West road cutting across the state and also expedite the transformation of Maritime Academy into a university.
In his speech, the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, commended the federal government for appointing indigenes of the state into key government positions. Mr. Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of the state’s elders council, asked for fairness and equity considering the allocation of projects in the Niger Delta region. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of youth, women and special interest groups spoke at the town hall meeting.