Breaking News

INTERVIEW: Engage ex-militants to address kidnapping, piracy – Esang Bassey

Amid the incessant cases of sea piracy and kidnapping at the coastal communities in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, the President General of Oro Development Union, Sir Esang Nsa Bassey in this interview with DAILY POST’s Lovina Emole and other journalists, urged Akwa Ibom State government to seek audience with the ex-militants who have expressed willingness to stop their nefarious activities. He also expressed dismay at the delay in the realization of Ibaka deep seaport, among other issues.……CONTINUE READING>>>

The Federal government in 2013 proposed to construct a bridge for Oron-Calabar River, what is the update?

Actually, the contract for the construction of the bridge was awarded in 2013 under the leadership of Goodluck Jonathan without funding the project. We hope that the present Federal government will mobilize contractors to complete the bridge. It’s about 13.5km. The bridge when completed will ease movement from the South South region to the North East region of the country and boost the economy. Even the people of Northern Cross River will equally benefit. We urge the federal government to make funding arrangements immediately. Oron remains a coastal town and a Nigeria window to other countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, among others.

So we want the federal government to reactivate that project, resolve what held it back. They would have signed the funding agreement but there came the issue of alignment where the bridge should start and where it should stop, so we want them to speedily resolve what was the problem. Also we have the issue of our seashores being constantly washed away; the federal government, since it is their duty, should protect our shorelines so that it will not go beyond what we are having at the moment.

Is there any problem between Akwa Ibom State government and Oro nation because Uyo, Nsit Atai, Okobo road have remained uncompleted for many years unlike other road projects?

As a people, we don’t have any problem with the Akwa Ibom State government. Since 1999, the five local governments in Oro have been supporting the state government even up to this moment but I can’t understand why we’ve been marginalized and our road remains like that up till this moment. I will say the present administration is trying to do something about it, until they do it, it is what it is. The truth is that unless you develop Oro the whole Akwa Ibom State remains undeveloped. Thank God that the state government is trying to do something on parts of the roads. While the state government is doing that, we call on the federal government to work on the trunk A road- Oron-Uyo Ikot-Ekpene-Aba. The portion between Aba Ikot Ekpene is under construction but Uyo Oron, Ikot Ekpene Axis of trunk A road should be awarded to good contractors and the project completed as soon as possible, it is something that will boost the economy of the area.

Is the realization of Ibaka deep seaport feasible?

Honestly, Ibaka deep seaport has been embroiled in politics over the years, the Federal government set up an implementation committee to deliver the port within two years, what happened thereafter we cannot comprehend. Till today, the state government has not told us why the federal government had to leave, why the name has to change from Ibaka deep seaport to Ibom deep seaport and where the new location of the seaport is.

I think one day the seaport will be constructed at Ibaka because it has a natural bay; as I said earlier, unless you develop Oron, the rest of the Akwa Ibom State will remain undeveloped, because if you can’t develop a seaport there, I don’t see how this state can develop economically and benefit from blue sea economy that the present federal government is championing. Go to Lagos State, they have Tin Can Island, Apapa wharf, then Lekki seaport and they are building another one in Badagry and we are here struggling to get one seaport.

I think we should understand that when the port is constructed, it’s not only Oro people that will benefit from it, everybody will benefit from that. So, nobody should try to stifle the project thinking to stop Oro people from benefiting from it. Also, if the state government allows the proposed solution hub of the NNPC to come up, it will also bring development to the state.

Are you not worried that the Maritime Academy upgraded to a university is yet to commence operation?

Yes we are very worried that Maritime Academy is yet to function as a university after the law establishing it received assent by the then President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022. What is remaining now is for the Federal government to constitute the governing council and appoint a Vice Chancellor. We hope that the senate president, Chief Godswill Akpabio will look into it as he promised and ensure its full implementation.

The rate of sea piracy and kidnapping in Oron is getting too high, what are the measures put in place by the union to address it?

Insecurity has become a problem all over the country. We know that it is getting high in Oron, a once bubbling community and market in Oron is now a ghost town due to the activities of these people.

When I assumed office, I had a meeting with the ex-militants in this area, they paid me a courtesy visit and issues of insecurity, sea piracy, kidnapping were raised and they (ex-militants) assured me that they would work with me to ensure that insecurity is addressed. If you look at other parts of the country, the governments are using them (ex-militants) to maintain peace by giving them contracts to protect the area as well as pipelines.

So, why is our state government not adopting that? Why is our state government refusing to speak with these ex-militants who agreed to stop militancy and incessant kidnapping in Oron? They said they need the government to assist them in terms of funding and engage them. I use the opportunity to call on the Akwa Ibom State government to address the issues of ex-militants in Oron so as to curb the insecurity issues bedeviling the area.

Since the creation of Akwa Ibom State, we’ve had prominent sons and daughters of Oron in government but none has become the governor, do you still have hope that the Oron nation will produce a governor in the near future?

I have great hope that one day we will have a governor of Oron extraction; we are standing on a three tripod, the other two have had their turn and Oron will one day occupy the hilltop mansion. Irrespective of the marginalization of Oron people, we will get there. All I know is that political power is not given, it is worked for, we shall raise our sons and daughters who will have the will to work for the power, grab it and run with it..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

Leave a Comment

Discover more from UTWEETS

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading