Akwa Ibom State Government and the Nigerian Navy have indicated readiness to collaborate on security of maritime environment for accomplishment of the blue economy and tourism components of the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda.
This was gathered in an interaction between the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, and Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, who led an entourage of top ranking officers of the Nigerian Navy on a courtesy visit to Government House, Uyo.
Speaking during the visit Governor Umo Eno, welcomed the Naval boss to the state and expressed gratitude of the government and people of the state for the visit and the premium given Akwa Ibom in Nigerian Navy’s scheme under his command and congratulated Ogalla on his promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral.
Governor Eno appreciated the Navy Chief on his support to the ARISE Agenda, emphasising that Akwa Ibom, over time, has been blessed with visionary leaders and that the pursuit of the A.R.I.S.E Agenda is with hope that the present administration will contribute reasonably to the development of the state.
“I like to say that, as a state, God has really blessed us that every leader comes with a vision and pursues the vision such that as they live the state, they have moved the state forward and we believe that by the grace of God and through the ARISE Agenda we will also be able to contribute our quota, so that by the time we disengage, people can look back and say we’ve also added our own quota”, the governor said.
The governor said to accomplish the tourism components of the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda and development of the blue economy which has to do with sea-based wealth, there was great need to partner the Navy to improve maritime security, given the coastal location of Akwa Ibom State.
“The maritime environment is very critical to the state at the moment. Part of our ARISE Agenda is agriculture and there lies the blue economy.
“All of those, have to do with the sea. There’s so much in the sea that we have not benefitted from and we intend through agricultural revolution to tap all these benefits and the blessings that the sea has and we will therefore need more cooperation in terms of security”.
He therefore solicited a revisit of the discussions on a partnership between the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Nigerian Navy to establish a Fish City.
The partnership, he maintained, will boost food production for Nigerians and even produce food for export.
The Akwa Ibom State Chief Executive also sought partnership with the Navy in building ferries and leisure ships for the water transport and tourism venture proposal of the A.R.I.S.E Agenda even as he extolled the academic excellence and high level of discipline maintained by the Navy schools in the state, sueing for increased slots for Akwa Ibom children as host state.
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, congratulated Governor Umo Eno on his emergence as governor, describing the feat as a signpost to a new beginning for the state, given his timely launch of the very promising A.R.I.S.E. Agenda.
According to the Naval Chief, Akwa Ibom State remains critical to the operation of the Nigerian Navy especially in the military and policing aspects, while acknowledging the state government’s support for the Naval facility at Esene , provision of land for expansion of the school at Uta Ewa, donating a girls’ school in Onna and other support to the NNS Jubilee.
He further assured the governor of the capacity and readiness of the Nigerian Navy to partner the state government in the ship building venture, accomplish the Fish City vision and other venture that will benefit Nigerians, while promising a favourable consideration for the request for increased slots in the Navy schools as well as guarantee on improved maritime security along the state’s coastal region.