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Completion Agenda will change the fortunes of rural and riverine communities –Info Commissioner

Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information, Sir. Charles Udoh, has assured that the Completion Agenda of the state government will change the fortunes of people in the rural and riverine communities that have long been neglected.

According to the Information Boss who spoke with journalists recently in his office, said the Rural and Riverine Development component of the Completion Agenda was designed to address the needs of people in those communities because they require urgent attention.

Sir Udoh explained that the government’s approach to changing the fortunes of people in the rural and riverine communities would start with the development of water transportation as well as provision of critical infrastructure to open up those areas for economic activities to begin to thrive.

He explained that development of water and riverine transportion was part of government’s overall plan to provide alternative routes in and out of the state, considering that the administration met most roads in rural areas in a state of disrepair at its inception in 2015.

According to him, “creating alternative routes will ensure that the planned economic programmes of government are not derailed”, adding that enhancing the economic agenda of the administration also accounted for government’s decision to establish Ibom Air to provide easy air access to the state.

He regretted that because of many years of neglect and absence of the required infrastructure, people in rural and riverine communities, especially fishing communities, were unable to make meaningful profits from their business activities, noting that off takers took advantage of the desperation by fishermen to dispose of their fishes to offer prices that did not leave much in profit to the fishermen.

The commissioner further explained that part of the rural and riverine development programme was to provide the kind of infrastructure that would present fishermen with two alternatives, namely, preservation of their catch in frozen form and drying them. This, he explained, would allow them enough time to sell the fishes at prices that would allow them change their boats and fishing nets when necessary and also enhance their standard of living.

Sir Udoh revealed that government would take advantage of the 129 kilometer coastline of Akwa Ibom State, the longest in the country, to create opportunities for the establishment of various industries that would tap the enormous potential in the area.

He listed some of the projects being planned by the government for the communities to include electrification, development of marine fisheries and fish farm projects, procurement and establishment of seafood processing facilities that would target domestic and export markets, as well as fish production.

Charles Udoh reiterated Governor Udom Emmanuel’s dream of seeing rural and riverine areas develop to the same standard with other parts of the state by the time he completes his eight-years tenure in 2023.