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President Tinubu (R) with Gov. Eno

Gov. Eno seeks federal support for Ibom deep seaport, oil palm project during meeting with Tinubu

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 held a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja, where he presented requests for federal assistance in key projects in the state.

Governor Eno primarily sought collaboration with the federal government in the development of the Ibom Deep Seaport and the revival of the state-owned oil palm project.

During the meeting, Governor Eno emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between the state and federal government and sought the president’s assistance in reviving the moribund state-owned oil palm project, which had been inactive for approximately 28 years.

Highlighting the significance of the Ibom Deep Seaport, Governor Eno explained that the project would cater to the maritime needs of the South-south and Southeast regions. He disclosed that President Tinubu had directed him to submit a memorandum outlining the details of the projects.

Governor Eno emphasized the deep wharf’s capacity at the Ibom Deep Seaport, which could accommodate ships globally and serve the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria. He underscored the need for a deep seaport to alleviate ports congestion, especially considering the challenges faced at the Lagos ports.

Governor Eno also requested federal government support for the state’s agricultural program on oil palm, aiming to increase production and eventually achieve the capacity to export palm oil. He highlighted the ongoing efforts to revamp the moribund oil palm industry, emphasizing the role of federal support in creating a full value chain.

Responding to questions about the reception of his requests after the visit, Governor Eno stated that President Tinubu had graciously granted him permission to submit a memorandum for the requests, including the Ibom Deep Seaport and the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the state’s airport. The governor clarified that Ibom Air, the state-run airline, is profitable and operates independently of direct government involvement.

Governor Eno concluded by expressing the need for a partnership with the federal government to drive development in Akwa Ibom State. He highlighted the positive progress made by Ibom Air and updated the president on ongoing infrastructure projects in the state, including the second taxiway, new terminal, and the MRO facility.

The governor’s visit was characterized as a routine briefing on the state’s progress and development initiatives. Governor Eno said “The purpose of my visit to the President is to wish him a happy new year and also make a request. You know when governors come to see the President, this is the seat of government, you have one or two things to talk about. “Then following that, we also have a request. We’ve talked and requested him to support us with our Ibom Deep Seaport and agricultural programme on the oil palm.

“Ibom Deep Seaport has the deepest wharf that will bring in ships and we can ship from that point. Again, Lagos is there, but you also know Lagos is congested. Of course that is no story. So you need a deep seaport that will take care of the Southeast, South-south, if you like, the Niger Delta region,” he said. On the Palm Oil refinery request, the Governor added “Akwa Ibom is an oil palm zone and we have started the process of revamping the moribund industry that has laid there for 28 years. It is being revamped right now. We need the support of the federal government to be able to have a full value-chain and then bring people to work and be able to help Nigeria.

“We can even get to exporting palm oil, because right now, we’re still importing a lot of it. So that’s why I came and it was a good visit.”

Responding to a question on how President Tinubu received him and his requests, as well as the concerns expressed over the viability of the state-run airliner, Ibom Air, the governor said “the President has graciously granted that I bring the memo for the requests and including MRO of course.

“The president is a businessman, he had to also ask, are we making profit running Ibom Air as a government and I told him government is completely out of the running of Ibom Air.

“Ibom Air is making profit and they are ploughing it back for expansion and on the airport facility, the second taxiway is on, we have the new terminal, we have the MRO and he was pleased to hear that.

“We need to partner with the federal government of course, to get work going in the state. Akwa Ibom is part of Nigeria, he is the President of Nigeria, he needs to know how one of his component states is doing. I just came for normal briefing.”

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