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We are making giant leap in marine transport sector – A’Ibom Commissioner

By Ofonime Honesty/Joseph Atainyang
The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Transport and Solid Minerals, Hon. Uno Etim Uno says his ministry is recording giant leap and making progress.
Uno Uno notes that the state government under Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is sensitive about the livelihood of his citizens, hence the commitment to ensuring their safety as they go about their daily struggle of existence.
In a recent interaction with newsmen, the Commissioner explained that pirates who were scattered around the marine routes, exploiting and killing businessmen, had long been contained by the ministry under his watch.
Uno pointed out that pirates had terrorized genuine business people and wrecked all manners of havocs, until the state government, through his leadership of the ministry, engaged the military and naval officers who began using gun boats on a daily basis to patrol the water routs.
He said the effort has yielded tremendous success as pirates were arrested and earlier stolen boats recovered and handed over to the owners.
“We have been able to contain the nefarious activities of the sea pirates. We got in touch with the Commandant Forward Operation Base, Ibaka, and the Brigade Commander and we are fuelling a patrol boat that are patrolling from Oro, Ibeno and Ikot Abasi. One is also stationed at the route to Calabar.
“The entire fuelling and settlement of these security personnel is done by the state government. The gun boat is also part of our responsibility.
“We arrested some of the militants, especially around Uruan Beach and handed over boats recovered to the owners.
“With what we are doing, the state government is taking care of the security of marine workers on the flying boat, wooden boat and the ferry. We make sure the patrol boats continue to be there so we can continue to enjoy peace in the sector”, he revealed.
The Commissioner who believed that some projects were only perfectly handled by the private sector, added that the Udom Emmanuel led administration was setting out modalities to engage private hands in meeting critical needs of the people, with regards to marine transportation.
“Like the Nigerian Airways of the past, all aircrafts in Nigeria are owned by private sector. Having a ferry from Oro to Calabar is not only a government concern. The private sector can also achieve that. The speedboats are not owned by government but corporate bodies and individuals.
“The federal government had a ferry that plied Oro to Calabar in those days. We are thinking of engaging the private sector and providing the enabling environment for it to thrive. Government is not known for effective management of such facilities. That’s why engaging the private sector is the only way.
“You can imagine pushing the management of Dangote Cement, Flour Mills and other companies into public hands.
“On other projects like the Deep Seaport, the state government cannot just start building the port. You need to pass through rigorous regulatory stages and obtain necessary approvals from the federal government. The same thing applies to the solid mineral sector, where everything belongs in the exclusive list of the federal government”, he explained.

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