Militants raid ship facilities in Akwa Ibom, demand N20m

Charles Nwoke, Uyo, Nigeria
January 19, 2021 

Gunmen suspected to be militants have attacked facilities at the newly constructed Norfin Offshore Shipyard located in the border shoreline of Ikot Ukpong in the Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The shipyard which the commissioning was initially slated to hold on January 23, 2021, has been shifted to January 30 by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State following the attack.

It was gathered that the armed men reportedly arrived at the yard on Monday at about 5:00 am and shot sporadically to scare security agents within the site away before bombarding the multi-million naira dredging equipment of the company.

Iniekong Udonwa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the facility, cried out over the damage done to infrastructures at the shipyard by the suspected militant group from Ogoni part of Rivers State.

Udonwa said, “They said we cannot start any business in Akwa Ibom State without first settling them.

“They keep telling our staff to tell the Government of Akwa Ibom to reach out to them since they are in charge of both Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. Where do they expect me to get N20m for them after destroying our machine worth N60m?” he queried.

He explained that the incident had discouraged him greatly as it had affected the planned expansion activities of the firm, causing him to strongly contemplate taking the investment to another place.

The CEO said the investment was borne out of his desire to contribute his quota to the development of his state by making available employment chances for her teeming unemployed youths.

Over 100 employees were working at the shipyard with four of them from neighboring Rivers State, according to the Chairman.