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Udom Promises Deep Seaport, Industrial City

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Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State said his administration would continue its industrialisation drive, giving priority to Ibom deep seaport and industrial city projects in his second term.
Emmanuel disclosed this in his second term inaugural speech last Wednesday, in Uyo, the capital of the state.
“We will aggressively industrialise this State and continue to attract foreign investors, ensuring that the environment is made ferment for investments. We hope to make Akwa Ibom the industrial hub of Nigeria. Ibom industrial City and Ibom Deep Seaport will be our signature projects this second term.”
Emmanuel and the deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, were sworn-in by the State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Godwin Abraham, at the nest of champions.
The governor said his administration would raise the bar of performance in all areas and lift Akwa Ibom State to an enviable height, to be the pride of the nation.
“Akwa Ibom in my second term will move from a fast industrialising society to a great and rich society, and will witness an unprecedented growth in all spheres of development and capacity enhancement.”
Giving insights into his priorities for the second term, the governor said his major policy thrusts will be hinged on an- eight point agenda, which are, industrialisation, aviation development, security, infrastructure, small and medium scale enterprises, human capacity development, agriculture, and rural and riverine area development.
He said his administration’s development agenda were expanded from five points in his first term to eight in the second term to allow proper consolidation on the achievements made in the first term.
The governor stressed that remarkable achievements have been made under the five points agenda laid out in his first term.
“To date, we have established over 16 industries, most are fully operational, while others are at various stages of completion. Our youths have been gainfully employed in those industries and the value-chain has ensured steady income to our people. Our State remains the destination of choice for foreign investors and comes second, only after Lagos in attracting the most Foreign Direct Investments.”
“We have invested heavily in infrastructural expansion and renaissance as promised in our five-point agenda. To date, over 1000 kilometres of road have been constructed and commissioned while some are on-going. Areas long cut off have been linked, and these roads criss-cross the three senatorial districts.”
“We have diversified our economy and placed a lot of premium on agriculture. Produce such as onions, tomatoes, and others which were thought not to be suitable for our soil have been produced in large commercial quantities.”
The governor called on his opponents in the last general election to join him in building the State.
“The elections have come and gone and the people have made their choices known on whom to govern and represent them. The time then has come for the healing of our land. I extend again my hands of fellowship and bond of friendship to my brothers and sisters on the opposite side of the political divide. I call on them to join me in building a State that we all, irrespective of political affiliations, will be proud to call our home”, Emmanuel said.
The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by some former governors of the State including, Obong Victor Attah, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, Mr. John Ebiye, and Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Rtd.

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Maritime

Piracy: Federation Harps On Global Cooperation

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called for urgent global and regional cooperation to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
This is as two vessels were targeted in the Gulf of Guinea, last week.
The body decried the spate of pirate attacks in the sub region, describing it as alarming.
The Chairman, ITF Seafarers’ Section, David Heinde, disclosed this in a statement made available to The Tide yesterday.
Heinde said, “Alarmingly, the frequency’ and severity of attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea is increasing, with a spate of recent kidnappings and ruthless acts of violence in recent months.
‘The entire maritime industry urgently needs to take action to improve prevention, reporting and response to attacks across the Gulf.
“Coastal countries in the Gulf must work with industry and unions to identify actions, and allocate adequate resources, to reduce the risks posed to seafarers and shipping.
“While we acknowledge the difficult international regulatory environment, we must continue to build capacity and cooperation, and address the mounting human toll that these attacks are having on lives and physical and mental health transiting through the waters of West Africa”.
Heinde said two weeks ago, pirates kidnapped nine crew members from the Norwegian-flagged MB Bonito while the vessel was at anchor off the coast of Benin in West Africa.
Two days later, four crew members were also taken hostage off the coast of Togo from the Greek-flagged Elka Aristotle.
Several other abductions have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, including eight crew members taken hostage off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish seafarers off the coast of Nigeria in July 2019.
It will be recalled that in October, 2019, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 86 percent of 49 crew taken hostage so far in 2019.
Although the number of crew members taken worldwide was down significantly from the 112 taken in the first nine months of 2018.
IBM reports insisted that the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern because of the increasing scale and frequency of attacks.

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Maritime

Container Traffic At Rivers Port Excites Trailer Drivers

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Trailer drivers at the Rivers Port Complex, Port Harcourt, have expressed happiness at the volume of container traffic at the port over the past three months.
The drivers who were seen in their numbers at the port main gate, yesterday, told The Tide that maritime activities had improved in the port since the assumption of the new Port Manager, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji.
The drivers said members of their association now have consignments to carry from the port to various states  of the nation.
Mr Jack Okorafor, a trailer driver who loads consignment from the port to Onitsha, Anambra State, said normalcy had returned to the port just as economic activities are now on the increase.
Okorafor said over 50 trailers were on the queue waiting to carry goods from the port to neighbouring states for sale.
According to him, both importers, terminal operators and license Customs agents are happy doing business at the port, noting that security has also improved at the port complex.
He told The Tide that the problems of sea piracy and theft within the port complex were history, as the management had improved on its security challenges in and around the complex since the inception of the new manager.
“No more attacks on vessel owners and crew members by pirates around the channels to the port, even as the Nigeria Navy and Marine Police patrol the waterways for safety of lives and property”, he said.
Okorafor disclosed that over 10 to 12 vessels berth weekly at the Rivers Port Complex discharging  various cargos ranging from frozen fish, bitumen, general containers, AGO, crude and LPFO.
Others products that berth at the port, according to him, include Premium Motor Spirit, bulk malt, bulk wheat, VHS and Naphta.
The excited driver also lauded the port management for its low charge rates on goods coming through the port complex.
He expressed joy at the improved security networks at the port complex and called on the port manager to provide a befitting trailer park for its members.
Okorafor appealed to importers from the South/ East and South/South states to patronise Rivers Port for their importation of goods instead of patronising western ports and spend heavily on charges.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Customs Generates N1trn In Nine Months

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The Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) said it realised N1.2 trillion as revenue in nine months within 2019.
This is against the N1.2 trillion it realised in the whole of 2018.
The Service said the revenues were realised between January and September 2019.
This was contained in a statement made available to The Tide by the NCS, Abuja office.
The statement shows that the highest revenue recorded was N123.6 billion in July and N118.6 billion in May.
The statement also reveals that the month of February had the lowest revenue of N86.3 billion.
The revenue was generated from import duty, levy, excise duty and other fees.
But unconfirmed reports state that the low revenue collected in February might be as a result of the partial closure of the border for the 2019 general elections slated for that period.
The data further shows that Apapa Area Command had the highest revenue of N313.5 billion within the period under review.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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