By Ekemini James

The blue economy which encompasses tourism, maritime transport, energy and fishing remains a vital component of global economy, with great potential for economic growth, job creation and food security. These are what the ARISE Agenda is committed to achieving.

Harnessing our blue economy potentials speak volumes about our vantaged posturing for building an economic powerhouse that would engender sustainability for young people, and increase indigenous participation and visibility for our people on the international turf, through exportation and product processing.

A listing of these humongous benefits depicts His Excellency, Governor Umo Eno, as a leader that dares bold steps to ensure our waterways are safe, and riverine communities positioned for enhanced growth.

The recently inaugurated 14 patrol gunboats procured to protect the state’s waterways is a significant milestone that is definitive of the administration’s resolve at protecting critical economic assets.

The launch of these gunboats by the Governor holds great significance for the riverine and coastline communities in the State. As legitimate businesses such as fishing, transportation, and tourism in these areas are set to thrive, leading to improved livelihoods for the people living within these communities.

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Remarkably, the Governor’s commitment to exploring the blue economy potentials of the State and transforming the coastal communities into tourism havens align with his vision to create jobs and improve the living conditions of the youths in fulfilment of his campaign promises.

In addition, the bolstered protection of our waterways through the deployment of these gunboats will mitigate the activities of pirates and other criminal elements that have been a threat to the coastal communities. By prioritizing the security of the waterways, the government aims to create an environment that encourages economic growth and investment, such that empowers and boost the industrious spirit of residents of these communities.

Worthy of note is the partnership between the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Nigerian Navy, along with other security agencies, which reflects the collaborative efforts in securing the waterways.

The joint task force approach, led by the Nigerian Navy with support from sister agencies and locals, with an understanding of the maritime environment underscores the inclusivity and collaboration required to effectively tackle maritime crime and ensure the safety of businesses in these areas.

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Furthermore, the partnership with Naval Shipyard Limited to construct a state-of-the-art passenger ferry boat, which is expected to unlock the tourism potential of the region and His Excellency’s emphasis on integrating stakeholders with fair knowledge of the maritime environment into the Ibom Community Watch program demonstrates a proactive approach to community involvement in maintaining waterways security. This integration will not only strengthen the security operations, but also provide an avenue for job creation and empowerment within these communities.

With these initiatives, Akwa Ibom State is poised to unlocking the full potentials of its blue economy, create job opportunities, and improve the overall well-being of its citizens, while also ensuring the safety and security of its waterways because Governor Umo Eno is at the helms of affairs, ensuring the manifestation of a golden era, not just in the maritime sector, but in other economy related areas of the State.