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Agricultural Project Worth $1.4bn Underway In A'Ibom

The Akwa Ibom governor has hinted that an agricultural project worth $1.4 billion would be established soon in the state by foreign investors. Mr Udom Emmanuel, who was addressing a large crowd that turned up to witness his inauguration of the Ibom Tropicana Mall in Uyo, recently, said the project, to be located in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, was "some thing that would gladden the heart of the whole Akwa Ibom. "It is something as big as Ibom Deep Seaport, he said, while expressing his reluctance to give details of the project. "I will not announce full details today. I have a letter already in my hand; else, I wouldn't have spoken about it. The money for it is ready. The investment in that axis would turn the fortune of agriculture in Nigeria, and it is worth a minimum of $1.4 billion. "Even the president has already sent a message of goodwill on it. It cuts across more than two countries, the governor told the crowd, which included his wife, Martha, state lawmakers and chairpersons of the local councils in the state. With the current scarcity of foreign investments in Nigeria, the governor said the project would certainly be a great boost to the country's economy when it materialises. "Government is not about noise-making, Emmanuel said of the mall, during its inauguration. "They say only empty vessels make the loudest noise. "I told Mr Speaker, give me a space, I will give you a market square. Give me a carcass, and I will give you a four-star hotel. The governor also spoke about a 14-floor storey building which is among the uncompleted and abandoned parts of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre. "I want to announce that we have been in touch with other investors about the hotel you are seeing there. "What you are seeing there is just a building, an uncompleted building. An uncompleted building is not a hotel, until it is a hotel. We will turn that uncompleted building into a hotel, he said. He said another hotel, a four-star hotel, built at Ikot Ekpene also by the previous administration would have commenced operation by now if not for some setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "If you checked, it's about 99.99 per cent complete. The only thing remaining is just for the management team to move in. We are reworking the agreement of that hotel and we have put everything in place. "We are hoping that within a short moment, Marriot should move in and the place would be commissioned, he added. The fall in the value of naira prevented foreign investors from investing in the mall and delayed its reconstruction, said Olumide Akinsanya, the chief executive officer of Median Infrastructure Company Development Ltd, a major investor in the project. When Akinsanya's company moved in for the renovation, several parts of the roof were leaking, causing rainwater to collect inside the mall. Akinsanya commended the Akwa Ibom government for the ease of doing business in the state, saying, "Every role the government was supposed to play was done in record time. "This is our beginning in Akwa Ibom, we are here to stay, he also said. Akinsanya said 300 people were currently working in the mall, which, according to him, has the potential to employ up to 600. "We have been strategic about it, as we bring in international tenants, we also bring in local tenants so they can grow as well, he added.

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