The leadership of Oro Union has denied the allegations levelled on Oro Nation by the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
Governor Emmanuel had in a media chat over the weekend, indicted Oro Nation when he said that stakeholders from the area were sabotaging efforts by the government to get the Ibom Deep Seaport working.
“I am not afraid to say this. They say name and shame, I want to name to all Akwa Ibomites in Nigeria and in the diaspora that, Oro people are the problem of Ibom Deep Seaport. They have written a lot of petitions to drive away investors”, the Governor said.
But reacting, the President-General of Oron Union, Bishop Etim Ante said the group would public the said petition which he noted had become a subject of controversy.
“The Governor is complaining about certain actions taken by Oro people through a concerted effort to register their grievances about the attempted relocation of Ibaka Deep Seaport from the original location to a disputed area, which is still part of Oro land according to 1957 map.
“I want to state emphatically that Oro People have never threatened any INVESTOR(S) nor have any ulterior motive to truncate this lofty and laudable project that will boost the economic potentials of Oro Nation as the host Community in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large.
“No serious INVESTOR(S) will hastily disengage from such a gigantic project on the strength of a mild Letter of Appeal from the host Community seeking the most suitable and cost-effective location with detailed technical inputs if their intention was genuine.
“We shall therefore, publish the much touted Petition which has become a subject of controversy. The Petition is persuasive and appealing in nature, which is aimed at convincing the Governor to consider and see the dire need to revert to the original and preferred location, near the natural harbour with sustainable cost, as against the proposed DUGOUT PORT that will result in the creation of artificial OCEAN of (1km square), without any Environmental Impact Assessment.
“The Petition also seeks to address the cost implications and environmental hazard of dumping of huge excavated sand and debris from the DUGOUT Areas on Oro Natural Harbour that can pose serious environmental challenges for future development of the area”, he said.
He lamented the withdrawal of the Federal Government from the Ibom Deep Seaport project, but however said, “we are aware of the roles of certain elements among us who are trying to be more Catholic than the Pope, trading the fortunes of Oro People for their personal gains. It is very sure that the God of Oro people is watching us and shall reward all our efforts and actions and judge us accordingly.”
On the relocation of the project, he said “the original plan that was conceptualised by successive State Administrations was for the road to the Deap Seaport to traverse the Seaport in Ibaka through Oron, Okobo, Nsit Atai road, bringing the influence to empty in Uyo, which is our revered State Capital, before discharging to other parts of the Country and the outside World.
“Regrettably, the current masterplan of the Deep Seaport which has a gateway through Ibeno will pass through Eket, Onna, East-West Road to Aba and Port Harcourt, bypassing Uyo, thereby diverting the direct economic impact of the Deep Seaport away from Oron the host Community and Uyo, the State Capital to other parts of Nigeria.”
Ante disclosed that a strategic stakeholders meeting of the Oro people will hold on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at the Oro Civic Centre and a special general meeting of the Oron Union on October 2, 2021, to ratify decisions concerning the Deep Seaport.