By G9ija

Chief Executive Officer of Norfin Group of Companies, Charles Udonwa, has charged the people of Akwa Ibom State to think less of political appointments and develop more interest in the maritime industry.

He gave the charge yesterday after conducting newsmen around the company’s Shipyard on Ikot Abasi-Port Harcourt highway at Oruk-Anam Council of the state.
“Akwa Ibom produces 65 per cent of crude oil in Nigeria and there is need for its people to get involved in the maritime sector.

“This is a money spinning investment and Akwa Ibom is loosing $5m daily due to inability of the people to get involved in ship business and investment in the sector. All we are concerned with is politics,” he said.

Udonwa said the company was now into building security patrol vessels, adding that it would soon go into building fishing trawler, boats and ships. Continuing, he said: “This is a private investment. The Akwa Ibom State government has provided a secure environment and community support for the investment. We will soon embark on construction of other sea going vessels, including, ferries, barges and fishing trawlers, among others.

“This is the only shipyard in Nigeria that will go into ship building, others are only into maintenance and repairs. We are now building security vessels to add more value and reduce piracy in the country.

“The international communities are complaining about piracy. Just last week, they killed one crew member and abducted 15 others from a Turkish container vessel.”He said the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the Niger Delta Developament Commission (NDDC) had approached the company to train Niger Delta youths on ship building, saying the aim was to turn the youths away from cultism, militancy, kidnapping and armed robbery and engage them in a more fruitful venture.

Udonwa pointed out that the training would also avail the youths the opportunity to become professional ship builders and enable them to secure jobs in any part of the world. He also canvassed a state owned financial institution that would help the people to access credit facilities to enable them to acquire ships and invest in the maritime industry.

“We need an Akwa Ibom bank that would support our people to buy ships and invest in the maritime and oil and gas sector. If Akwa Ibom people can purchase 50 ships, it could generate about $50m revenue to the state,” he added.

He disclosed that the state government would commission the shipyard on Saturday, January 30, 2021 (tomorrow) at the company’s shipyard in Oruk-Anam with the unveiling of a security patrol vessel, MV Norfin Swift.