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IBAKA SEAPORT CRISIS DEEPENS

… As Etido Inyang Fights Back
Following a report in a local tabloid (not Ibom Telegraph) recently on allegation that he made N668million as Secretary of the Technical Committee for the Actualization of the Ibaka Deep Seaport Project, former Special Adviser on Technical Matters to the then Governor, Godswill Akpabio, and present Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr. Etido Inyang, has said the allegation are a fragment of the imagination of the writers.
In a reaction signed by one Ezekiel Ntafiong, said the tabloid should have presented facts showing how he made the money.
“For brain of credibility and professionalism, the paper should have obtained contractual agreement of the studies and published same. The paper should have provided in details the stages of payment, processes of transaction and bank details through which the Special Adviser (Engr. Inyang) got his share of the kickback.”
On the allegation that he “fronted incompetent companies which he has huge stakes in for the purpose of drawing the design and consultants to handle the feasibility studies,” he said an internationally certified engineer with over two decades of global expertise, skilled in and conversant with global best practices cannot be aboard a company run by persons of incompetence. Again, one would have expected the paper to publish alongside its story the list of Directors and Deputy Directors and if the Commissioner is not in any of the two categories at least his position in the companies and his equities in them.”
The statement also said it was important the paper “told the public if the Technical Committee for the Actualization of the Ibom Seaport was a one-man show that Engr. Inyang, as a Committee Secretary, ran all the show and made all the decisions solely by himself.”
Vowing for Engr. Inyang’s integrity, the statement said the Commissioner for Special Duties was a thorn in the flesh of construction companies when he served as Special Adviser on Technical Matters in the last administration, “as he refused kickbacks from companies to certify their projects as up to standard. An instance was when he visited and ensured that a particular company started a job will over again and to specification or risk being blacklisted.”
Explaining why it has been near impossible to actualize the project, the statement said “the concept and processes of building a seaport and a deep one at that is not like a road construction. There are myriad processes involved and lots of bottlenecks which must be surmounted and straightened out even before actual construction begins. Also, if not most important is the issue of funding. By the laws of Nigeria, seaport is a Federal Project facilitated by state with derivable equities split among the federal government, state government and private investors.”
In conclusion, the statement said the “state government remain determined and committed to the project as has been assured by Governor Udom Emmanuel in his recent media chat and Commissioner Etido Inyang is firmly focused as ever on the task.”
The Ibom Deep Seaport project has been a recurring decimal in news stories over its state years after it was supposed to be completed. Started in 2008, the first ocean liner was supposed to berth at the port in 2015. This was the expectation of the then Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Mr. Omar Suleiman, and the then Governor Godswill Akpabio, when they both spoke at a ceremony to handover the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the once 5,000 hectres land. The then Governor promised that all infrastructure necessary for the project to meet the dateline will be provided, including a road that will link the seaport to the East-West Road. That road, the Etibi-Enwang Road, has only been abandoned.
Though the then Governor had collected the designed done by Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), nothing has been built on the site.
When the present Governor, Udom Emmanuel, came onboard, he set up a Technical Committee headed by renowned maritime expert, Mrs. Mfon Usoro, to work toward the realization of the project. Engr. Inyang, as Commissioner for Special Duties, is a member of that Committee while his erstwhile position as Secretary has been taken by Barrister Enobong Etteh, a renowned labour law expert.
Our findings show that not much is happening at the place at the moment, prompting most members of the Committee to leave town for their private practices.
A source said Engr. Inyang should not have been returned in a place he had been for eight years without any appreciable impact. This might be at the height of calls for him to account for his role in the project.
Another source close to him, however, said “Etido Inyang is one person. He had a Chairman. He had other members. How come he is the target? There is much more to this than meet the eye. I know the Governor knows his competence and transparency and will not be cowed to think otherwise of him.”

Etido Inyang (2)

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