By Jonathan Ugbal
The Federal Government has said it is planning to incorporate the Calabar – Ikom – Ogoja – Katsina-Ala highway to its Sukuk bond in order to increase funding as a means of speeding up repair work on that road.
Sukuk basically refers to certificates of equal value which evidence undivided ownership or investment in the assets using Shariah principles and concepts endorsed by the Shariah Advisory Council. Sukuk, therefore are Islamic bonds that are structured in a way to generate returns to investors. They are issued and traded in compliance with the principles of Shariah, which prohibit “riba” or interest.
And, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this when he received in audience, the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V at the State House on Thursday where he pledged to open of the southern port city of Calabar to the rest of the country.
A statement signed by Mr. Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina quotes the President as saying that though the City had lost its preeminent status as the first capital city of Southern Nigeria to Lagos, his administration will not lessen ongoing efforts to open the City to the rest of Nigeria, but will increase the efforts to ensure happiness and betterment of the people of the City in particular and Cross River State in general.
“We will open up that part of Nigeria to the rest of the country,” President Buhari assured, adding that a number of projects are being executed by the Federal Government in the State.
According to him, “three road projects – Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja; Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene and Sapele-Ewu – are at various stages of completion.”
This comes on the heels of cries by motorists complaining about several portions of the road especially at the Ochon in Obubra local government axis.
He assured that dredging of the Calabar harbour will be undertaken as soon as some legal issues are settled by the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Ports Authority with the contractor.
President Buhari pledged full support to the Calabar Deep Sea Port project of the State, adding that a number of electricity projects would soon follow after a visit to the State by the Ministers of Power in the upcoming two weeks.
Enumerating other projects in the State being undertaken by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs such as the Industrial Park which is one of the three set up through the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, the President also noted the construction of roads and water projects by the Niger Delta Development Commission; the development of a Skills Acquisition Centre for youths; and the construction of houses among others.
In his address, the Obong of Calabar decried the disregard and neglect of the Calabar Kingdom in spite of its national historical significance, and called for the reversal of the “demotion” through the execution of projects in the areas of roads, power, maritime access, security and border issues as well as the plight of displaced persons from the Bakassi Islands.
The monarch who congratulated President Buhari on his victory at the polls, also urged his administration to restore Calabar to what it lost to Lagos and Abuja.
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