By Oto-obong Ufot
Norfin Offshore, a ship building company own by an indigene of Etinan local government area Mr Charles Udonwa, on Friday, July 26, 2019 commerced full operation in Akwa Ibom State.
The company which is located by the bridge at Ikot Ukpong, Oruk Anam local government area along Portharcourt/Akwa Ibom East West Road was formally inaugurated by the Commissioner of Lands and Housing Hon Ime Ekpo.
Speaking immediately after the formal inauguration of the company, the Commissioner thanked the Executive Chairman of the company Mr Charles Udonwa for choosing to establish a company of that magnitude in his home state. According to him, it is a thing of pride to have something to show where you come from.
He particularly thanked the Singapore based businessman for his choice of sitting the project in Ikot Ukpong, an area he described as one that has not had much government presence for quite a long time now.
In his words, ‘ I can say authoritatively that this side of Oruk Anam has never experienced any government presence. I was very delighted when I spoke with Rt. Hon Udo Kerrian Akpan and within twenty four hours, he was able to assemble representatives of this community and we were able to sort things out for the company to be birthed’.
He expressed optimism that in due course, the company may end up as a Marine Department of Akwa Ibom State University depending on how the company is received and supported by the host community.
Hon Ekpo used the opportunity to call on the host community to be peaceful, supportive and refrain from making excessive demands from the company adding that given the multiplying effects of the job opportunities the company will create, the community has nothing to worry about.
Speaking during the occasion, the Executive Chairman of Norfin Offshore Mr Charles Udonwa said the idea to site the company in Akwa Ibom State was birthed by his wife who gave the idea while he was still considering sitting the company either at Lagos, Portharcourt or Calabar.
He thanked the host community for the worm reception they have given the company. He expressed optimism that Norfin Offshore which is sitted at Imo river where King Jaja of Okpopo ended his trade exploit, will upturn the story of the river for good.
Also speaking during an interview session with newsmen, The Chairman, Committee on Foreign Direct Investment Mr Gabriel Ukpe said the company came to be as part of the governor’s effects to industrialize the state; and create job and wealth for the people of the state. According to him, the state governor has been working for the past four years and the company is one of the manifestation of his hard work.
‘He promised the people of Akwa Ibom State that he will bring industries, he will create wealth, jobs and make the people wealthy. He has been working tirelessly for the past four years. Today, the manifestation of his hard work is showing all over the state. This ship building company will create employment opportunities to the people of the state’.
Highlight of the occasion includes the official inauguration of Norfin Power 1, a dredger designed and constructed by Norfin Offshore Ship Company.