Norfin Group, which owns a shipyard in Oruk Anam, Akwa Ibom State, said it has begun the building of security patrol vessels to curb militancy in the Nigerian maritime corridors.
Iniekong Udonwa, the CEO of Norfin Group, disclosed this on Friday to reporters at the shipyard
The shipyard, ironically, was attacked on January 19 by some suspected militants who destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
“This is the only shipyard in Nigeria that is going into ship building, others are only into maintenance and repairs.
“We are now building security vessels to showcase in our own water that sea men can be protected and also add value to Nigeria and reduce piracy in the country,” Mr Udonwa said.
Mr Udonwa said the shipyard was partnering the office of Amnesty programme of the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission to train youth in the area of shipbuilding, and related maritime opportunities.
According to him, the training will take the youth away from cultism, militancy, kidnapping and armed robbery to a fruitful venture.
The training would avail the youth the opportunity to become professional shipbuilders and enable them to get jobs in any part of the world.
“NDDC approached us and negotiated on training some youth interested in shipbuilding from this area and we agreed to partner with them.
“Even Amnesty Nigeria has also approached us demanding cultists and militants to surrender their arms and be trained in the shipyard.
“This is going to open up the opportunity for our youth to be trained and provide employment,” Mr Udonwa said.
“We will soon embark on construction of other sea going vessels, including ferries, barges and fishing trawlers.
“We need to build about four ferries for Calabar-Oron and another four ferries for Bonny- Port Harcourt. For Oron, we are going to build a fishing fleet to boost the economy,” he said.
Mr Udonwa urged Nigerians, especially people from oil-producing areas, to get involved in the maritime industry.
“This is a money-spinning investment. Akwa Ibom is losing five million dollars daily following the inability of our people to get involved in ship owning business and investment in the maritime sector,” he said.
“We need an Akwa Ibom bank that will support our people to buy ships and invest in the maritime and oil and gas sector.
“If Akwa Ibom people can purchase 50 ships that can generate about 50 million dollars revenue to the state, it will increase standard of living of the people,” Mr Udonwa said.
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