Akwa Ibom State Government and Naval Shipyard Ltd have signed a new agreement to construct a 24m mild steel passenger/cruise ferry boat to enhance marine transportation within and offshore in the state waterways.
Naval Shipyard Ltd is a subsidiary of the Nigeria Navy specializing in boat construction.
The state government was represented by the Commissioner for Transport Mr Orman Esin while
Admiral Superintendent of the Naval Shipyard Limited, Rear Admiral Fredrick Damtong signed for Nigerian Navy.
Speaking at Government House Uyo on Friday during the execution of the contract at the Executive Council Chambers, the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno said the deal marks the beginning of collaboration for security and reinvention of marine transportation in the State adding that it was a good way to end the year 2023.
Eno, while receiving the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla to the State, pledged his administration’s commitment to partner with the Navy to further the A-R-I-S-E Agenda.
His words: “Our intention in line with the A-R-I-S-E Agenda is to expand water transportation, support maritime security and see the best we can extract from the blue economy.
“We have plans to have a second one because we don’t want a down tie, so, maybe six months down the line, we should be able to place an order for a smaller ferry, so that we can be sure that if one is for servicing, we can have others that can still run.”
The governor explained that the State Executive Council chose the Nigerian Navy for the deal the administration’s determination to invest in domestic economy with hope that the Navy would provide security for the ferry’s operation due to their stake.
“Besides the helpful synergy the government has enjoyed with the Navy, the deal was in line with the administration’s preference to invest in the domestic economy, and the hope that the Navy will ensure security for the ferry’s operation, given its stake.
“Many others bided for this job, but we have chosen the Nigerian Navy because, first, we want to encourage our local content, and we believe also, that the Nigerian Navy, being the manufacturer of the ferry, will provide the enabling environment for it to operate.”
Reacting to the partnership deal, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, commended Governor Umo Eno on the implementation of the A-R-I-S-E Agenda in the state adding that some programmes captured in the agenda blueprint, particularly in the area of security within the maritime environment have materialize.
He described the Governor’s venture into maritime transportation as pacesetting as it benefit both the state and the entire South-South region.