In furtherance of the vision to explore the blue economy, Akwa Ibom State government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navy Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of the Nigerian Navy for Ibom Fish City Project.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at Government House, Uyo, the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno said the MOU is meant to solidify the existing relationship between the two parties and affirm that they are ready to do business.
He recalled that discussions on the project had started under the former administration when he was Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, and appreciated the management of Naval Holdings Ltd for being steadfast.
According to him, “what we are doing today is to come into agreement that we really want to be in this marriage, between Nigerian Navy and Akwa Ibom State government. So by signing a memorandum of understanding, it meanw we should be able to progress.
“I have brought in the Managing Director of Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, AKICORP, because that is the investment arm of government, just as Naval Holdings, is the business arm of the Nigerian Navy
“We are signing the MOU to reiterate that it is a worthy project, because apart from providing jobs, this government is really interested in maritime security.
” And one of the things my brother, Rear Admiral Ayo Olugbode promised me was that if this project was there, it would provide security around the area.
“We are interested both for economic and security purposes. These a
two reasons give me joy because we want to get our waterways very safe for our people to do business.
” Again, we all know that part of our ARISE Agenda is to explore the blue economy, therefore, this will be a bold step forward.
” I believe this will be a good marriage, we don’t want it to fail and we want to make sure that this is a model for other coastline states to copy,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, GMD of Navy Holdings Ltd, Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje appreciated the Governor for his commitment to the development of Akwa Ibom State.
He commended the Governor for setting the machiney in
motion to facilitate the project through the MOU and assured that the partnership deal will add enormous value to the State.
Speaking on the project, Rear Admiral Ayo Olugbode, Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy said the project when completed would, in five years, generate estimated revenue of N500 million and employment of between 2000 and 5000 people depending on the scale.
According to him, “the project is cascading from a bigger vision, which is the African Maritime Strategy, a way of providing socio-economic solution to the root causes of maritime malfeasance in the entire West African Coastline.”
He said when completed, over one million tonnes of fish would be produced with a ready off-taking market.
Olugbode noted that Akwa Ibom State was chosen as preferred location for the project due to its riverine and coastal areas with numerous water bodies and fisheries and assured that it will add great value to the State economy.
At the event were; the Deputy Governor, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, Secretary to the State Government, Prince Enobong Uwah, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uko Udom SAN, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Offiong Offor, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Monday Uko, MD of AKICORP, Pastor ImoAbasi Jacob, and others.