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How right investments, policies can turn Ikot Abasi to industrial hub—Ekpo

Considering the historical antecedents and emerging convergence of heavy duty business establishments, Ikot Abasi waterfront and environs which had hitherto served as Slave Port may become the 21st century investment destination of the South South geopolitical region.
This was the submission of veteran journalist and image-maker of Mboho Ikot Abasi Local Government Area indigenes of Akwa Ibom State in Lagos, Mr. Sylvanus Ekpo.
Going through memory lane in a presentation weekend, he recalled that “Ikot Abasi, also called Opobo, formerly Egwanga, port town, Akwa Ibom state, southern Nigeria. The town lies near the mouth of the Imo (Opobo) River. Situated at a break in the mangrove swamps and rain forest of the eastern Niger River delta, it served in the 19th century as a collecting point for slaves”.
According to him, “In 1870, Jubo Jubogha, a former Igbo slave and ruler of the Anna Pepple House of Bonny 45 km came to Ikot Abasi and founded the Kingdom of Opobo, which he named for Opobo the Great, a Pepple king (reigned 1792–1830)”.
“Also called Chief Jaja by Europeans, he destroyed the economic power of Bonny and made Opobo the leading power of the eastern Niger Delta oil-palm trade until he was deported in 1887 by the British, who established a trading post at Opobo Town, six km southwest, on the west bank of the Imo River.
“Beyond that, Ikot Abasi produced the erudite jurist and scholar, the late Sir Justice Udo Udoma, who served as the Chief Justice of Uganda, at a time. His son is the current Minister of Budget and National Planning in Buhari’s cabinet, Barrister Udoma Udo Udoma.
Ekpo averred that “Over the years, Ikot Abasi has evolved from being a slave port to a fishing community with Uta Ewa as a notable clearing house supplying sea foods, shrimps and smoked fish to surrounding states in the South South.”
On the emerging industrial hub status of the area, Ekpo noted that “A leisure and tourism destination and lately, an Industrial Hub in Akwa Ibom state, Ikot Abasi has attracted a considerable number of industries including the Aluminium Smelter Company, Ibom Power Plant, Ete Refinery & Petrochemical Company and lately, Liberty Free Trade Zone. The NNS Jubilee is situated in Ikot Abasi and has given considerable security cover to the area”.
Concluding, Ekpo averred that “With the right kind of investments such as in oil and gas and the impending resuscitation of the Boat Yard, it is going to be a destination for considerable maritime activities, especially with the Atlantic Ocean in view”.