Fresh controversy trails Ibaka deep seaport project

Controversy has continued to trail claims by the Akwa Ibom State government that the proposed Ibaka deep sea port project would be delivered in 2015.

While the state governor, Godswill Akpabio is celebrating the project as part of his achievements, residents of the area describe his claims as deceptive.

The site of the proposed seaport is currently used mainly for fishing activities and water transport for small crafts, ferrying passengers to destinations such as Calabar, Cameroon and Ghana, amongst others. There are no quay wall or aprons constructed or being constructed, save for a small jetty being used by the Nigerian Navy.

These realities raise questions about the State Government’s seriousness in driving the project.

A community leader, Okon Eyo Udotong, said the claim that a deep seaport is being constructed in Ibaka is false. He said apart from when the governor visited the place some years ago, nothing has been done in the site, which is about 100 meters from his house.

“Nothing has been done ever since the government pronounced that there would be a deep sea port at Ibaka, Mbo local government area,” said Udotong.

He said what would give an indication that the government is ready is when issues of compensation for the people to be affected by the project is discussed.

“Since they have not come to talk about compensation, nothing has been done. In 2008, the governor came here to pronounce that there would be a deep seaport in Ibaka and since then, he has not come again. The only other person to have come is Robinson Ewah from the Federal House of Representatives. He was even asking where that land that was given to the seaport is. I took them there.

“Government is always deceiving Ibaka people. It is when they want to solicit votes for election, that they make promises to build deep seaport. We do have a deep sea here; a lot of ships come here, mostly fishing trawlers. But before I believe that they would really come and build a seaport here is when they come to talk about compensation,” Udotong said.

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, had in August last year said the seaport project would be completed before he leaves office in May 2015.

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