In a significant move towards harnessing the blue economy, the Akwa Ibom State Government has entered into a partnership with Navy Holdings Limited, a commercial arm of the Nigerian Navy, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the ambitious Ibom Fish City Project. The signing ceremony, held at the Government House in Uyo, was presided over by the state governor, Umo Eno, who expressed his administration’s commitment to this visionary project.
The governor reminisced about the project’s inception during his tenure as Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources under the previous administration. He lauded the firm’s steadfastness and highlighted the dual benefits of the project: job creation and enhanced maritime security. Governor Eno’s administration is keen on making the state’s waterways secure for business, viewing the project as a strategic move to achieve economic and security objectives.
Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje, the Group Managing Director of Navy Holdings, commended the governor’s dedication to state development and the swift action taken to actualise the project through the MoU. The project is expected to be a beacon of progress, setting an example for other coastal states.
Rear Admiral Ayo Olugbode, the Nigerian Navy’s Hydrographer, provided insights into the project’s potential impact. He projected that within five years, the Ibom Fish City could generate an estimated revenue of N500 million and create employment for 2,000 to 5,000 individuals, depending on the scale of operations.
The collaboration between the Akwa Ibom State Government and Navy Holdings Limited to establish the Ibom Fish City Project is a commendable step towards economic diversification and maritime security. This initiative is a testament to the potential of public-private partnerships in catalysing development and fostering sustainable economic growth.
The blue economy, encompassing all economic activities related to oceans, seas, and coasts, holds untapped potential for states like Akwa Ibom, blessed with extensive coastal resources. The project aligns with the global shift towards blue economy strategies, which focus on the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of marine ecosystems.
We advocate for the replication of such initiatives across Nigeria’s coastal regions, encouraging other states to explore similar partnerships that leverage their unique maritime assets. It is crucial, however, that these projects are underpinned by robust environmental policies to ensure that economic development does not come at the expense of ecological integrity.
The Ibom Fish City Project is poised to set a benchmark for integrated development, combining economic benefits with strategic security enhancements. By securing the waterways, the project not only promotes business but also contributes to the broader security architecture of the region.
We urge the stakeholders to maintain transparency and accountability throughout the project’s implementation. The promised economic and security benefits must translate into tangible improvements in the lives of the people of Akwa Ibom and serve as a model for sustainable development across Nigeria’s coastal belt.
Did You Know?
- Akwa Ibom is known as the ‘Land of Promise’ and is one of Nigeria’s 36 states, located in the coastal southern part of the country.
- The concept of the blue economy is gaining traction globally as a means to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation of livelihoods while ensuring environmental sustainability.
- Navy Holdings Limited is involved in various commercial ventures, including agriculture, and is a key player in promoting the Nigerian Navy’s self-reliance initiatives.
- The Nigerian Navy’s Hydrographic Office, led by Rear Admiral Ayo Olugbode, plays a critical role in charting the nation’s waters, which is vital for the safety and security of maritime activities.
- The Ibom Fish City Project is expected to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s food security and reduce reliance on imported fish, which aligns with the country’s goals of achieving self-sufficiency in food production.