On the 29th of September 2021, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Udom Emmanuel represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, took some Akwa Ibom people to a place in Unyenge, Mbo LGA where the government has consistently insisted the seaport has been relocated to.
The visit to the location of the proposed seaport became inevitable following the recent comment by the Governor that Oro should be held accountable if he fails to deliver Ibom Deep Seaport.
It appears there are numerous conflicting positions on the location. The people of Oro Nation are contending relocation of the seaport from the originally conceptualized location to one outside Oro, while the government on the other hand is insisting that the new position is in Unyenge which is still in Oro land. Contradicting this claim is the fact that Ibeno LGA demanded a name change to Ibeno deep seaport after being told by the same government represented by Akan Okon that they are the current host of the proposed seaport.
The world is now data driven in virtually every field of human endeavour. It is usually said that data do not lie.
As an Uda person from a village only a stone throw from Unyenge. I have had the privilege of knowing the place called Akai Unyenge. I have also been to coastal communities such as Okposo, Atak Ibang (the place described as Seaside in the OBC), Eto Esek, etc. These places include all the study areas for the deep seaport. From my understanding of their proximity, there is no way a seaport is built in Ibeno, which shares boundary with Unyenge that the influence of the port development will not reach the latter. But that does not mean the seaport is in Unyenge. Using that as a yardstick to persuade Oro people that the seaport is now relocated to Unyenge which is still in Oro Nation is deceptive, to say the least.
The ultimate questions that should come to the minds of every Akwa Ibom indigene as far as the controversy of location is concerned are: What are the exact coordinates of the location for the seaport as contained in approved final OBC? What are the coordinates of the location Oro people where taken to? Are they in anyway within the design coordinates in the Final OBC? Why is that map shown to Oro people not in final the OBC?
TRUE LOCATION OF THE DUGOUT PORT
Is IDSP in Mbo or Ibeno?
In the Final Outline Business Case (OBC) for Ibom Deep Sea Port and Free Trade Zone dated 26th May 2014, the Coverage Area Map for the Dugout Port and Free Trade Zone is found on Page PD 24. Anybody can download the OBC from the Website of Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC). The Map shows the exact Coordinates of the Coverage Area for the Dugout Port and Free Trade Zone. The key Coordinates are as shown in Map No 1 below.
A ( E 410600, N 506200)
B ( E 416450, N 508900)
C ( E 416450, N 500350)
D ( E 412778, N 501010)
Is the location the SSG took a team of Oro people to show as the location for the proposed Dugout Port within the area covered by these Coordinates? It is not enough to go to a place and say this is the location where the Port is going to be built without the coordinates of the location to know whether it is within the area covered by the approved Layoud Coordinates
Map No 2 shows the Layout of the proposed Dugout Port and Free Trade Zone with the boundaries of Ibeno LGA superimposed. It is unarguably clear that the location of the Dugout Port and Free Trade Zone are completely in Ibeno LGA. Ibeno inland boundary is about 7km from the shore. Uyenghe town is about 4km outside Ibeno boundary where the Port coverage area stops. The tiny Red corner outside Ibeno boundary is insignificant.
At this point, I dare to say that Engr Nkpubre, the Chairman of Oron Nation Techcom on Ibaka Deep Sea Port, was very correct when he clarified that the location for the proposed Dugout Port is not in Mbo LGA. It must be noted that it is true that the area where the Dugout Port is located historically used to be in Mbo LGA but it was forcefully annexed by Gen. U. J. Esuene to his Eket Division at that time. The area is now administratively in Ibeno LGA. A Google search of the location using the above coordinates should clear any doubt in that regard.
The foregoing explains why the Implementation Committee constituted by the state government visited Ibeno Community as a Host Community. There are proofs that Ibeno People had written to thank both the Federal and State Governments for relocating the Deep Sea Port to Ibeno LGA and even requested for the change of name to Ibeno Deep Sea Port.
The map displayed to Oro people on the 29th of September is supposed to show that where the Dugout Port is to be located is in Uyenghe in Mbo LGA. But this Map is not found anywhere in the Final OBC.
The Government of Akwa Ibom State should tell the people of Akwa Ibom State the truth. These continuous acts of deception is very unhealthy.
I would be very happy to have a deep seaport in Unyenge. But from available data, Ibom Deep Seaport is not in Unyenge and data do not lie unless they are falsified.
Alexander Asuquo, Esq.