The commitment of the Federal Government to the revamping of the socioeconomic life of the people of Niger Delta region was the major crux of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visit to Akwa Ibom State, at the weekend.
Though, his visit was predicated on ceremonial commissioning of two major projects as the state marked its 34 years of creation, Osinbajo took time out to make some policy statements.
He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government was totally committed to addressing the infrastructural deficit across the country, disclosing that N8.9 trillion for infrastructural development had been earmarked for the purpose as at 2020.
He explained that the positive multiplier effects of such intervention further change the face of Niger Delta region when the Lagos-Calabar rail line comes into effect.
He commissioned the multi-billion naira 21 storey smart/intelligent building and performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Dakadda Housing Estate, being some of the signature projects of governor Emmanuel Udom, in the last six years.
According to him, the Federal Government has approved the Lagos-Calabar rail line that is expected to criss-cross some Niger Delta states, including Akwa Ibom State to terminate in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
“The Federal Government had earmarked N8.9trillion for infrastructure, including the Lagos-Calabar rail line that will pass through Uyo to Calabar,” he stressed, adding that the private sector would be boosted as the volume of trades and investments would flourish to give the region a new identity.
He explained that the commissioning of the 21-storey business building for International Oil Companies (IOCs) expected to relocate to their operational areas in Niger Delta region, was a compelling factor that would aid the relocation of IOCs to the state.
He noted that the building would complement the industrialisation policy of the state government and boost the private sector activities for job creation and more investment opportunities and revenue.
‘’It is the catalyst for the private sector; the setting up of the building is a way of creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive,” he said, adding that it would compel the multi-national oil companies to relocate to their operational base in the region.”
Governor Udom, had earlier appealed to the Vice President to impress on President Muhammadu Buhari, to give Executive Order (EO) for the IOCs to relocate as his administration has been able to overcome the accommodation challenges with the inauguration of the smart building.
He said his administration had to commit billions of funds accruable to the state in erecting the facility as IOCs had hinged their relocation to Akwa Ibom State on accommodation and other enablers, including security.
In the same vein, former governors of Benue and Cross River states, Senator Gabriel Suswam and Donald Duke; Senator Akon Iyakenyi and the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Opolupm Ikpong Ette, whose ministry handled and delivered the project, praised the governor for his commitment to Akwa Ibom development, especial under the recession period.