Three people have died and 17 others rescued as a passenger boat capsised at Bayeku area of Ikorodu, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Saturday.
 
The boat, said to belong to Eda Olaropin/Bayeku Association, conveying 20 passengers, ran into a submerged object and capzised mid-sea within the oke ira nla axis while heading to Bayeku area of Ikorodu, at 12:15pm on Saturday.
 
General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel who confirmed the incident said an on the spot investigation carried out by LASWA revealed that the incident was caused by a submerged object beneath the waterways.
 
He said all passengers were wearing their life jackets but that casualty could have been as a result of fear or shock.
 
“Unfortunately, three persons were confirmed dead, while 17 persons were rescued alive.
 
“LASWA sympatises with the families of the deceased and the Agency is committed to achieving a zero incident rate on the waterways through enforced regulations and thorough risk management culture” Emmanuel said.
 
He, however, noted that the spot of the submerged wreck had been marked to avoid future occurrence while the State Government, in conjunction with the Marine Police would conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.
 
 
Source: PmNews
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said it genetated N2.911 billion revenue at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in the first 10 days of 2019.
 
This was disclosed In a statement by the Customs Area Controller of the Murtala Airport Command, Shoboiki Jane.
 
“The Murtala Mohammed Airport Command started the year (2019) with an unprecedented revenue collection of N2,911,374,14 in the first 10 days of January.
 
“In 2018, the MMAC generated over N50bn. This figure surpassed that of the 2017 with N2,57,144,789.50,” she stated.
 
According to the Shoboiki, the command has also recorded success in its anti-smuggling efforts, disclosing that the command intercepted and detained smuggled military materials that were imported into the country.
 
She said: “This year, the command has intercepted and detained two packages of military camouflage uniform imported without end-user certificates. Also, 51 cartons of drones were intercepted and detained without end-user certificates.”
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Air Peace launches Port Harcourt NAF Base flights, to operate from OAS terminal ON JANUARY 14, 201910:34 AMIN AVIATION0 COMMENTS By Lawani Mikairu 
 
Air Peace is to commence daily flights into the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Port Harcourt, Rivers state with effect from r January 18 and would operate from OAS Terminal at the base with state of the art facilities. Air Peace Confirming this development, Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah said that the airline would operate from the Murtala Muhammed Airport domestic terminal (MMA2), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja into and out of the Port Harcourt NAF Base. 
 
The operations, he said, would be managed by the carrier’s subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper as part of its no-city-left behind project, targeted at connecting underserved and unserved domestic and regional routes. “We are delighted to announce the commencement of our flight operations from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja to the Nigerian Air Force Base, Port Harcourt, Rivers State starting from Friday, January 18, 2019. “Our valued customers had yearned for the extension of our flight operations to the Port Harcourt NAF Base and we are quite pleased to respond to their request to enter the route,” the airline said. Meanwhile, the Managing Director and CEO of OAS Helicopters, which operates the OAS Terminal, Captain Evarest Nnaji, said the new terminal was designed and delivered to support airplanes and helicopters for oil and gas flight operations. “It was designed and delivered with the sensitivity and stringent standard associated with oil and gas aviation security and safety in mind, taking into account the reliability and predictability desirous of a facility that supports 24/7 high net worth operations.
 
Evarest explained that Air Peace is accommodated in the facility in order to enhance the movement of oil and gas workers to and from different parts of the country to the base. “First we conceived a large facility capable of supporting operations way more than we expect to utilise in near future; we therefore have enough space to share. Second, oil and gas operators seem very comfortable with Air Peace judging the number of expatriates you see on Air Peace flights, so when they approached us to use the facility we had no problem accommodating that, and I think they are happy. 
 
The facility is the best you can find around here as it meets all international oil and gas aviation standards which is usually way higher than regular commercial aviation,” Nnaji said. The MD/CEO also said that the facility is still expanding as OAS expects to, within the next 24 months, install a state-of-the-art new generation helicopter maintenance hangar, which, according to him has not been found anywhere else in Africa. “We have not been talking about this because OAS business model will remain on simple achievement milestone, showcasing our mileage of achievements as we accomplish them. 
 
That to me is more dignifying,” Captain Nnaji added. Related Air Peace expands operations to MMA2 December 13, 2018 Air Peace begins inaugural flight from MMA2 January 2, 2019 Air Peace inaugurates Monrovia, Abuja-Accra services Aug. 6 July 25, 2018.
 
 
Source:Vanguard
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has sanctioned four operators for violating the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NigCARs).
 
Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, who made the disclosure on Sunday in Lagos, said that those sanctioned included both scheduled and non-scheduled operators. He did not name the operators.
 
Mr Adurogboye said three of the affected operators were to pay a fine ranging from N1.5 million to N2 million, while the fourth operator had its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) suspended for 180 days.
 
He said the affected operators were caught when NCAA Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) visited their premises.
 
According to him, a number of deficiencies, including non-implementation of training programmes for maintenance personnel as required and irregularities concerning Helicopter flight identification were discovered during the inspection.
 
“Also discovered were deliberate violation of the regulations, performing maintenance programme without necessary approval and the use of outdated manual.
 
“Adurogboye said that NCAA has directed that the maintenance personnel be trained immediately.
 
“NCAA wishes to assure all stakeholders that it will continue to ensure the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are strictly followed,” he said.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
The Akwa Ibom State government is on the verge of making history with the floating of a state fully owned airline, Ibom Air.
 
This was announced by the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel at the weekend during the state’s annual Christmas Carol in Uyo, saying the airline is ready for commercial operation.
 
According to Emmanuel, the floating of the new airline will be the first state government owned airline in Africa and is ready for commercial scheduled flights.
 
According to the government, the new airline currently has a fleet of three aircrafts, with service commencing with two aircrafts which have already been branded in Canada and will land in Uyo, the state capital by the end of the year. The third is expected to join by February 2019.
 
“Our state owned and run Obong Victor Attah International Airport has a Category 2 runaway and work is on-going on the second taxiway. To ensure that our state remains the destination of choice for foreign investors, we are launching Ibom Air, our wholly owned airline that will lessen the problems currently being encountered by our numerous air travellers,” Emmanuel said.
 
The governor, while speaking at the Carol, also gave account of his stewardship, reeling out his achievements since 2015.
 
According to him, his administration has performed creditably in all sectors, especially in the areas of rural electrification, roads, health care delivery, industrialisation, among other key developmental projects.
 
The governor further restated the commitment of his administration to make the state an industrial hub in the country and West Africa sub-region with a view to creating jobs and opportunities for growth.
 
Emmanuel also explained that he became governor when the country was going through the worst economic crises in her recent history and even when most state governments could not pay their workers’ salaries, he went ahead to clear 10 years backlog of pensions and gratuities spanning 2001 to 2011.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
As part of measures to ease the processing of foreigners coming the Nigeria, the Immigration Service (NIS) has expanded its Visa-on-Arrival counters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two visa on arrival counters at the “D” and “E” Wings of the airport were expanded following approval by the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mr Mohammed Babandede.
 
A top official of the NIS told NAN on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity that the move had increased the capacity of the service to process visas for foreigners coming into the country.
 
The source said : “As you can see, we have expanded our offices at the “D and E ” Wings to accommodate the high number of foreigners arriving the country who have approvals to be issued visas.
 
“Sometimes, we have two or more international flights arriving simultaneously and the existing counters can not accommodate foreigners requesting for visas.
 
“We sometimes get up to 150 people per day. During this yuletide, we are having an average of 1,000 foreigners coming through this airport every week.
 
“It is a part of the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government because this will eliminate unnecessary delays in the issuance of visas to foreigners coming into Nigeria,” he said.
 
According to the source, apart from creating a more conducive environment for travellers, it will also shore up the image of the country in the international community.
 
The source, however noted that some foreigners were still not conversant with the processes of obtaining their visas on arrival.
 
“Some of them don’t wait for approval from the Comptroller General before coming to Nigeria. They just make payments but they need to wait for the approval which normally takes about 48 hours.
 
“So, they need both their payment receipts and approval before we can allow them into the country. The payment is made online and collected by our technical partners because we operate a cashless policy, ” the source noted.
 
The source disclosed that 278 foreigners have been turned back in the past few months for not having the necessary requirements to be admitted into Nigeria.
 
According to the source, a foreigner coming to Nigeria should either apply to the Nigerian Embassy or make an application to the NIS for visa on arrival.
 
NAN reports that the visa on arrival policy by Nigeria began in 2012 with Kenya and a few African countries.
 
It came into full stream with the introduction of the Ease-of-Doing-Business Policy by Federal Government in May 2017. 
 
 
Source: NAN
 
 

The Nigerian Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has made some clarifications on the withdrawal of General Electric from railway concession in the country, insisting that the FG has not signed any agreement with the American company.

According to the minister, GE was still negotiating with the Federal Government on the planned $2.7 billion deal to concession and rehabilitate Nigeria’s narrow gauge railway when it backed out.

The minister stated this speaking on the the ‘Morning Show’ of Arise News Network, insisting that GE did not abandon the railway deal on account of Nigerian economy.

He said further that GE was no longer in the business of transportation and had to hand over its interest in the deal to another firm.

“General Electric did not pull out. One thing that thrives heavily in Nigeria is rumour, I don’t know where you got that information, no concession agreement has been signed, none. We have been negotiating, there is no way you will get a concession agreement in one year.

“What happened is that most of their business activities, they have dropped a lot of (them), I don’t know if it includes energy, transportation and all that. When they found out that they couldn’t continue in that line of business…because they were no longer in transportation business, the next company took over the lease, they didn’t pull out, it has nothing to do with our economy, they were excited about this thing.”

Amaechi futher revealed that GE had told him that they had for 11 years approached successive administrations in Nigeria to do the railway concession but the company was not successful because previous administrations wanted to award contracts for the railway while that of Muhammadu Buhari, preferred the concession model, adding that South African firm, Transnet SOC Limited, which deals in pipeline, port, and rail construction would now take over from GE and that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be set up with Transnet and other firms to do the job.

“I said I wasn’t going to award any contract because railway is too expensive. The total investment is supposed to be $2.7 billion, which is N1 trillion. No government can pull out N1 trillion to rehabilitate the entire narrow gauge.

“Now, the South African company has continued, they want to do the rehabilitation, we are at the point of setting up the SPV before we can sign the concession agreement.

“Have we finished negotiations? The answer is yes; the problem we have is that they want another six months to get their ministers in South Africa to give them approval to set up an SPV and we can’t sign without that because there are four companies involved.

“The four companies will form an SPV with which they will come to the table to sign. Each company, especially the one in China, say they will need six months to be able to convince their government to go into the concession. We are good to go, we are waiting for our partners,” he added.

 

Source: NAN

One of the hallmarks of a thriving economy is found in the social blend where entertainment unfolds in varieties within its suburban settlements. From local events that employs the theatrics of performing artistes, to ticketed shows such as stage dramas, comedy shows, musical shows, and exclusive gigs; a fully-ploughed creative ecosystem brings spectacles, verve, and good living wages for practitioners. This is the course set in motion by  Governor Udom Emmanuel.
 
The breakthrough project AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase; first of its kind,  is one of the emerging platforms that has put steam into increasing the capacity and accelerating the active talent pool of Akwa Ibom State entertainment industry. As a key fragment of the functional whole, the talents showcase represents the entry strategy that unveils a 3-phrase stimulus plan for the ecosystem- DISCOVER, DEVELOP, DEPLOY. This engagement has robust economic and social impact potentials for the state and conveys a stream of actions that puts the creative industry in Akwa Ibom State  on a trajectory to growth and global relevance.
 
A GLOBAL OUTLOOK
 
Tourism, which is a proven high-net earner for major world economies, is one of the core drivers of globalization, and as such a connector that opens up various races of the world to culture exchange and trade by providing key support structure that encourages diaspora participation and economic growth.
 
Focusing on Entertainment, major global cities have created strategic alignment and ride the wave of epic and acclaimed events, playing host to tens of millions of tourists who come to unwind and connect with the rich culture. Between the exotic Broadway shows which makes New York City the glam city of the world, Australia’s prominent Sidney Opera House that headlines star-stunning shows, to Rome’s amazing audience view of Teatro Sistina, and Beijing’s famous Capital Theatre; high-worth productions in Music, Dance, Drama, Comedy adds value to the talent pool and strengthen local economies. Pivotal services such as tech-based capacity providers and distribution agencies further stretch the potential of the skill-base that can earn consistently good wages in a well-articulated entertainment industry value chain.
In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel acknowledges the potential that home-grown talents can contribute to the economy, and has initiated a stimulus program to DISCOVER, DEVELOP, and DEPLOY the best skill assets and productions to the world. AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase is an entry strategy to set in motion the plan to invest in  the subsector.
 
Here is how the building units of this plan is laid:
 
DISCOVER- PITCHING OPPORTUNITIES WITH TALENTS
The surging youth population in Nigeria has a direct impact on our growth potential as a country. For Akwa Ibom State, with an estimated two million active young people both at home and abroad, the talent cluster for performing artistes leave much to be expected. AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase has set the precedent by opening up the stage for over 5,000 budding Performing Artistes to step up and showcase the skills discovered. From the auditions data, Music, Dance, and Drama are the top skill set that is prevalent in the ecosystem. The feedback from participants of the showcase validates that a sustained effort to discover talented new artistes is the most effective strategy to enrich the state’s creative community and make opportunities a-dozen-a-dime for career-minded beneficiaries.
Governor Udom Emmanuel “has all the pegs in the right hole”, the statement is glaring, thousands of young people that may never have seen a stage or the spotlight are on the verge, to contribute and excel in a promising creative industry. 
 
Furthermore, the discovery of production-based skills which are significant in delivering rated performances is a niche that engages a projected minimum of 5,000 jobs annually, within a suitably-designed stream of program that feeds the ecosystem so far over 5000 youths have been given an opportunity to showcase their potentials across the state. Tech careers that support production and distribution are becoming the most sought-after skills, a goldmine of opportunity for imaginative and impressive young people to achieve relevance with their arts.
From Musicians, Actors, Dancers, Emcees, Comedians, Circus and Stunt Performers, Art Directors, Production Designers, Costume Designers, Special Effect Designers, Illustrators, Animators, Sound Engineers, Music Composers,  Cinematographers, Photographers, Film Editors, to Brand Developers, Business Developers, Legal Counsels, Vendors, and Digital Media personnel; the knock-on effect of a deliberately created opportunity(Talent Showcase Events, Open-Mic Events, Sector-based Trainings, Bootcamps) for new talents to gain exposure and go professional carries with it a clear picture of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s brave vision, inspiring the potentials of young AkwaIbomites  to ‘rise to the Faith of Greatness- ‘DAKKADA’.
 
 
DEVELOP- TRANSFORMING TALENTS THROUGH CAPACITY BUILDING
 
Like in sports, the performance of every game originates from the consistent input during training. For Artistes to consistently perform at top level, a strategic developmental process is imperative in refining raw talents into marketable assets. Identifying sellable talents and introducing seasoned trainings techniques and procedures for budding performing artistes to improve their core skills and strengthen their artistic depth positions the entertainment ecosystem stimulus plan on the trajectory to growth.
Capacity Building, especially for performing artistes, cannot be overemphasized. For budding career artistes in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel has committed significant investment (in policy and infrastructure) to ensure that an initial cluster of over 5,000 young Akwa Ibomites with identifiable creative skills that can add value and boost the quality of creative output from the ecosystem are nurtured and molded into valuable industry assets. Encouraging collaborations with seasoned industry professionals from Akwa Ibom State and beyond.
 
Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is notable for encouraging and supporting youth development, supports a pragmatic approach to groom and progressively build the creative and technical capacity of performers and production personnel for the industry.
Through an annual capacity building plan, over 5,000 youths in Akwa Ibom State are receiving top-of-the-rung trainings in skills acquisition, such as Acting, Singing, Dancing, Event Hosting, Comedy, Production Designing/Planning, Costume Designing, Makeup, Special Effect, Stunt Actions, Video Editing, Photography, Videography, Music Production, Animation, and Personal Development. When completely transformed, these are the critical creative mass that will add real economic value through capacity deliberately harnessed by the industry stimulus plan.
 
 
DEPLOY- PUTTING OUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
 
The most compelling phase of this industry stimulus plan is designed to connect our trained and sellable artistic assets to the global market. Much credit to accessibility of technology, the ease of acquiring top-notch production equipment and distribution of content is the golden goose of the entertainment ecosystem. The industry’s trade potential is defined by good contents, and having an emerging cluster of over 5,000 thoroughly-bred professionals to develop, produce, and distribute over 1,000 great contents (events and shows ideas that cuts across fiction, reality, movies, songs, comics, industries, tourism, environment, culture, education, health, businesses, news, sports, broadcasting) annually to a global audience of 100,000,000 viewers, an industry is rife and on the rise.
 
Governor Udom Emmanuel knows exactly the potentials of this untapped market space, and as a known thinking-economist has added to his economic focus, the production of visible and viable value from the mass supply of our performing arts talents. The state-based support to jumpstart an industrial revolution in the creative industry ecosystem has come full cycle and how it is deployed will accelerate the growth of our tourism sector.
 
THE PRODUCTS- the development phase of this stimulus plan as stated earlier serves the purpose of training selected performing artistes to fit multiple and specific roles in music, dance, drama, comedy, broadcasting, event hosting, and stunt performance. Matching verified skills to production ideas sets the ball rolling in churning out fleets of content. In itself content is fleeting, hence the demand and the need to consistently create good contents (The Products), and distribute for a price. Over 1,000 productions annually, spread around businesses in the ecosystem will provide more than 5,000 jobs for performing artistes and production professionals, with exponential growth capabilities.
 
THE DISTRIBUTION- technology has greatly redefined the channels where audience around the world receives contents; as such it is embedded as the core driver for deploying this stimulus plan for the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State. Through Cable Television and Digital Media, thousands of produced and rated contents from the ecosystem can make primetime viewing on multiple platforms with foreign exchange earnings in tow. Social Media is big for views on images, videos, and live-streaming, and can be monetized with the promise and delivery of great quality content. More so, these great contents can boost the programming quality of local television stations in and around Akwa Ibom State, especially AKBC.
 
THE BOTTOMLINE- An estimated annual minimum of Millions of Dollars in revenue is the set bar for earning from distributing talents that has been Discovered, Developed, and Deployed. Governor Udom Emmanuel is right once again, and now the best of the pick from our entertainment industry sends their invitation to the world, in readiness to share our creative, rich, and awe-inspiring culture, talents, and experiences. On this trajectory, Akwa Ibom State is better for it.    
 
MefLyn Anwana  
SA on New Media To The Governor
 
 
#AksTalentShowcase
#NightOfStars
In 2003, the Akwa Ibom State Government of Nigeria began a journey of many miles, a journey that will not only be arduous and expensive but a journey that is promising and prospering if properly sojourned.
The State Government proposed having a deep seaport. It decided to take advantage of the depth Ibaka waters offer- 16.5 meters deep without dredging. But is there a need for a seaport?
 
Reason for a Seaport
 
Recent reports show that the seaports currently serving the country, West and Central African sub-region are reaching saturation. In August 2018, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had to cry out to the Federal Government to ensure that seaports in other parts of the country become functional to decongest and ease gridlock in Lagos State.
 
Besides, the need for viable alternatives has become critical for major shipping lines sailing the West African coastlines. With limited land to expand the existing seaports in Lagos and the inhibiting conditions against the development or expansion of other ports, the proposed Ibom Deep Seaport offers an ultra-modern deep seaport with modern cargo handling equipment, facilities and systems that can address the capacity challenges constraining other seaports across the region. The greenfield site has substantial land available for future expansion.
 
Due to its proximity to target markets in West and Central Africa, neighbouring hinterland countries and major shipping lines calling West/Central Africa, large gateway market size to attract direct vessel services and sizeable transhipment cargo hinterland for feeder shipping network connection, as well as its capacity to handle post and New Panamax vessels at its specialized terminals, the IDSP is in an enviable position to emerge as the first major transhipment hub for the region. 
 
According to Maritime experts, the transhipment container market for the IDSP is estimated to grow from about 1.2 million TEUs in 2021 to about 4 million TEUs in 2040. Immense potentials you may say! But what gives the seaport this vast potential you may wonder.
 
Features of the Ibom Deep Seaport
 
Strategically located in the South East of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria (a leading oil and gas producing state in Nigeria), the approximate coordinates of the IDSP scaled from the British Admiralty Chart No. 1387 are Latitude 4° 32’ 35’’ N; Longitude 8° 14’ 7’’ E and UTM coordinates 415168 m E; 502,199 m N (UTM Zone 32N). According to the project official website, the 2,565 hectares greenfield port area is designed for New Panamax Class vessels with channel (18.24m); turning basin and berth depth (16.72m) and quay length of about 7.5 km. When fully developed, the container terminals will be able to accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and two very large feeder vessels. With immense business potentials that abound, giving the project the attention it requires for its realization would be seen as a wise course of action.
 
Since its conceptualization, contributions have been made by successive administration towards its realization. Obong Victor Attah's administration designed the seaport. Out of 10 million US Dollars, his administration paid 5 million US Dollars for its designed and had negotiations with São Tomé for the development of Industrial City for the Seaport. 
 
The Akpabio's administration took it up from there. He said he acquired 14, 900 hectares of land for the take-off of the Seaport. Just weeks before the end of his tenure, Akpabio obtained approval from the Federal Executive Council for the commencement of the project. Discerning that time was against him, and that the task for the realization of the project will be in the hands of his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel, he assured that his successor has the capacity to handle the task. 
 
While commissioning a drainage system in Uyo on 19th May 2015, Governor Akpabio said " As we have commissioned numerous projects today, by the Grace of God we will start the Ibom deep seaport so that Akwa Ibom will be taken to the rest of the world and I am assuring you today that Udom Emmanuel will perform creditably well to make us realize this project and others about to come". Will his successor, Governor Emmanuel live up to expectations?
 
Governor Emmanuel in the Dock
 
Just like Biblical Joshua who was given the weighty responsibility of taking the Israelites into the promised land, Governor Emmanuel perhaps understood the expectations ahead of him. 
Taking cognizance of the economic benefits the Ibom Deep Seaport Project will have on the people of the state and the country in general, as he took over the administration of the State, Governor Udom Emmanuel put in place motions towards the realization of the project. 
 
14 days into his administration, the Governor inaugurated the first committee of his administration, the Technical Committee for the Actualization of Ibom Deep Seaport Project thus offering clear indication that this is the flagship project for his administration. The Governor ensured that the 10- Man Committee is imbued with men of experience especially as the committee was headed by Barr. Mfon Usoro, a one-time Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Results were expected.
 
Six months into office, in November 2015, during a media chat, the State Governor assured that before 2018 runs out, the State should be able to have a deep seaport. Intensive work began. However, a State cannot develop a seaport alone. Seaport development is in the Exclusive List. 
 
The State Governor then had the herculean task of convincing the Federal government on the need to invest in the project. At every opportunity, Governor Emmanuel became enmeshed in preaching the gospel on the gains the Federal Government could have if they invest in the project. 
 
In one of those moments, the result of his gospel bore fruits. While addressing a Town hall meeting of the government and people of the State on Thursday, 2nd March 2017, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi  Osinbajo, announced that Federal Government was fully committed to the Ibom Deep Seaport Project and has made provision of N1 billion in Nigeria Port Authority 2017 budget  for the development of the project. He added "This is a project Federal Government is taking seriously". The assurance served as the icing on the cake. It signaled the birth of the long awaited partnership. How did the Udom Emmanuel's administration embrace this development?
 
The current Transaction Advisers, Global Maritime and Port Services (GMAPS) of Singapore had commenced work on the procurement stage.
On 24th of December 2017, the procurement Process for the Seaport development was approved by Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee ( MPDSC). On the 8th of January 2018, the Request for Qualification (RFQ) from interested investors was published. 
 
According to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr Akan Okon, this was done through a virtual data room.
 
The Commissioner says that at the end of the exercise, 174 downloads of the RFQ were received. Out of that 174, he explains that only 40 bidders registered that they will submit their RFQ but at the end of the day, only eight were able to submit their RFQ. 
 
Okon says that based on the submission, on the 20th of March, 2018, that RFQ was opened and evaluation done by MPDSC. He offered insight to the fact that at the end of the evaluation, three of the companies were pre-qualified, meaning that they met the requirement that was published. The three international firms who met the requirements are the consortium of Bollore and Power China, China Road Breach Corporation, CRBC and China Harbour Engineering Company of Nigeria. You may wonder then, at what level does this development keep the project?
 
The Commissioner explains " At this stage, we have been able to come up with the preferred bidder and the reserved bidder for the project and as soon as this is approved, the full business case will be sent to the Federal Executive Council for further approval. I can assure you that as soon as that is done, the construction of the project will commence.”
 
Elucidating further, Okon states “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transport set up Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee (MPDSC) which is made up of representatives from the same Ministry, the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), ICRC, the programme Manager, representatives of ICPC and EFCC, members of the Technical Committee and Akwa Ibom State Government. Every process leading to where we are now is being approved by the Federal Ministry of Transportation."
 
He adds that before the end of the year, they should come to the end of the entire transaction since everyone involved in the project was showing great commitment.
 
Interestingly, the Commissioner announces that with the level reached with the project and government's timetable, by the end of November 2018, the groundbreaking of the project should take place. But is the Federal government also ready for its commencement? In his recent visit to Akwa Ibom State Government House, after the bid conference of the project,  the Chairman, Project Development Steering Committee and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sani Umar Galadanchi said the Minister of Transportation has passion for the project and promised to continue to work with the state Technical Committee and other stakeholders to achieve result.
 
He added, " this project is not just for Akwa Ibom State, it is for the country and Africa in general. I wish to inform you that we have been working in a way that by God's grace, the project may commence sooner than later."
Nevertheless, for such magnitude of project to thrive when it commence, there must be certain supportive imperatives put in place by the State government. Has provision been made for them?
 
In June 2018, while brainstorming with stakeholders and Investors at Government House, Uyo over the realization of the project, the State Executive noted that the State Government had met with the communities and fulfill all their obligations. 
 
On road infrastructure, work has began on 55.1km,12 Lane Superhighway leading to Ibom Deep Seaport.
This is a carriageway which starts from Esit Urua in Eket/ Ukpenekan Junction in Ibeno , criss -crosses Esit Eket, Mbo and ends at East west road in Oron Metropolis with a Fly-Over that empties into Uyo-Oron Daulized Road .
 
The project is a State government project undertaken by the Udom Emmanuel's administration under the Alternative Project Funding Approach. It is prosecuted by Elba construction firm. According to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang, the project is specially designed to serve the seaport, taking cognizance of its durability to withstand heavy duty trucks.
 
The Chairman of the Committee for the realization of the Ibom Deep seaport, Barr Mfon Usoro adds that in collaboration with the Federal government, the State is vested with the task of developing 2565 hectares for the project. She says the State Government has acquired a license for a free trade zone which is part of the building blocks for an industrial city. She explains that the industrial city will have features like agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, marine-related industries, auto assembly plants, power plants, as well as real estate developments.
Barr Usoro mentions that plans are in motion by the Udom Emmanuel's administration to relocate residents around the site of this project to a more comfortable location as the project is set to begin in full scale. 
 
Assessing contributions made towards the project, an indigene of Mbo, the host community of the project, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem who also serve the State as the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State government notes that the strides attained by the Udom Emmanuel's administration towards the realization of the project has been plausible.
 
In his remark recently in his office in Uyo when he played host to the people of his community, under the aegis of Uda Community Development Union, Ekuwem added “His Excellency, the Governor has spent Millions of Dollars on the Ibom Deep Seaport. It is a fact. There are seven steps to this seaport. We are now on step seven which is the last step."
 
Also bearing her mind on the  project, the Technical Committee Chairman for the Realization of the Project,  Barr Mfon Usoro says past leaders of the State deserve commendations for the initiative and contributions they have made towards the project. She adds that Governor Udom Emmanuel has lived up to expectation evidenced in the strides he has achieved in the project within his three years in office. The Chairman further points out that the Udom Emmanuel's administration is also deserving of commendation over his commitment, strategic push and go-getting spirit, a gesture she insist is responsible for the critical milestone attained  in the implementation of the Ibom Deep Seaport (IDSP) project.

The Nigerian Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said the embargo placed on Nigeria Air, the national carrier, will be lifted as soon as possible. Sirika and Nigeria Air Nigeria Air Suspension: 1st Letter To Fec: What Happened? According to James Daudu, the ministry’s deputy director of media and public affairs, Sirika said this while receiving Fahad Al Taffaq, United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to Nigeria, in Abuja He quoted the minister as saying the new date for take-off of the airline would be announced soon.


“The suspended national carrier would be activated as soon as possible, although the December 24th earlier given for its take-off is no longer feasible,” the statement quoted him to have said. In September, the minister announced the suspension of the national carrier which was to be launched in December, saying it was a “tough decision” taken by the federal executive council.

Subsequently, Lai Mohammed, minister of information said the national carrier project was suspended due to investor apathy. But Sirika said that was untrue as the “national carrier project has an avalanche of well-grounded and ready investors.” Critics of the current administration had described the project as an avenue to siphon funds.

 

Source: The Vanguard

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