The Clan Council of Ibeno local government area has said that there exists nowhere else better than the choice of Ibeno LGA for siting of the Deep Seaport project in Akwa Ibom State.
The Ibeno Clan Council stated this in a press statement signed by the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno LGA, HRM Owong Effiong Archianga among other traditional rulers in the area.
The statement came on the heels of controversies raised by some persons of Oro extraction concerning the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to site Ibom Deep Seaport in Ibeno.
According to the Clan Council, Ibeno is one of the largest Local Govemment 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, totaling 120 kilometres.
They noted that the attempt by some persons of Oro extraction to describe Ibeno as a small Local Government Area is a smack of ignorance at best and sheer display of what they described as folly at worst.
The Clan Council said the people of Oro Nation are trying to hoodwink the general public and cast bad publicity over a project which they stated has the capacity to place Akwa Ibom State at the World Map.
They explained that 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, and accessibility.
The Ibeno Clan Council added “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.
“That the total project area required for location of the Deep Seaport spans across five villages in Ibeno viz: Okposo I, Okposo II, Okomita, Itioesek and Itak Idim Nne Ekpe. In contrast to the disingenuous claims by the Oro Nation that pipelines criss-cross the area and would involve huge cost to relocate, 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 Deep Seaport area.”
They pointed out that there are only two flare torches in the hinterland of Ibeno, which is far from the Deep Seaport location hence cannot affect the project.
The traditional rulers insisted that if gas flaring were to be the criteria for siting of a Seaport project, 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.
The Clan Council added ” That the Federal Government has designated the area approved for the Deep Seaport project in Ibeno as a Licence Free Trade Zone. The magnitude of that proposal and the benefits thereof places Ibeno at the foreground of the developmental strides that Akwa Ibom State hopes to make in the foreseeable future. In recent time, there has been an upscale in interests to increase the Energy Infrastructure in Ibeno. Siting the Deep Seaport in Ibeno therefore becomes far more beneficial for all concerned as a natural hub for import and export of Petroleum and other Allied Products. Surely, there exists nowhere else better than the choice of Ibeno for the Deep Seaport project.
“That the Deep Seaport is only a part of an entire Industrial City. 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.
“That as we have already stated, Ibeno is stupendously blessed by nature. As Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State rise to the challenge of maximizing and appropriating the full potentials of the rich oil and gas resources which our nation is blessed with, it is no one’s doing and certainly, no one can stop the fact, that Ibeno becomes the destination of preference owing to its rich resources and natural positioning. It is on this note that we therefore encourage all citizens of Akwa Ibom State to join hands to build the necessary infrastructure that will bring prosperity and well-being to all our people.”
While calling on the people of Oro Nation to sheath their sword and act on the side of caution, the Ibeno Clan Council thanked the Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel for choosing Ibeno for the project. They assured Government of their unalloyed support for the growth and development of the State and country Nigeria.