Two strategic Korean and Nigerian partners, working on integrated infrastructure backbone for Nigeria, have announced that Enugu state has been designated as the centre point for the regional integration of the economic development of the Southeast under the planned national framework.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Monday, night hosted the high powered teams from the Integrated Infrastructure Backbone for Nigeria and Hyundai Engineering of Korea, and the two strategic partners informed him that talks with the federal government on their ambitious project has progressed to an advanced stage.
The two corporate organizations which attended the last Enugu International Investment Summit tagged Oganiru explained in their presentations at the Government House, Enugu, stated that action plans and designs for the proposed infrastructure backbone for the country has made Enugu state the central focus for the South East zone, especially with the proposal for establishment of a dry port at Obollo-Afor, a border town in the state.
The designation of the busy border-town, Obollo-Afor for a proposed inland container/dry port was effected during Governor Ugwuanyi’s tenure as the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Marine Transport.
The elated Governor Ugwuanyi spoke to his visitors thus: “I wish to thank you for your kind comments on the success of the Oganiru- Enugu State Investment Summit- during which, as you rightly observed, I declared that Enugu State is open for business.
“Your visit today actually goes to confirm that the Summit made the required impact and is therefore yielding the desired results. It is in that spirit therefore that I do warmly welcome the team from Hyundai Engineering and those from Integrated Infrastructure Backbone for Nigeria.
“We are certainly interested in hearing your proposals for investment in Enugu State and you can always count on our cooperation and partnership”, he told the investors.
Those who came for the special presentation before the governor included; (from Korea)- Mr. Hon Byung Chul, the General Manager, Overseas Investments, Mr. Jang Hosung, Manager, Overseas Investments, Mr. Cha Ki Young of Alpos which are Consultants to Hyundai Engineering and Mr. Justin Okafor, President, Nigeria Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Japan.
The delegation from the Integrated Infrastructure Backbone Project was led by Dr Nkemka Jombo-Ofo, Principal Consultant, Dr. Stephen Dike, Principal Consultant, Dr. Solomon Nyagba, Consultant, Mr. Eric Eze, Surveyor and Mr. Kingsley Eze, Consultant.
Dr. Dike of Integrated Infrastructure Development Associate spoke on the dynamics of the ambitious project: “It is a special purpose company established to initiate the integrated infrastructure development project for Nigeria and the whole idea is to create economic development catalyst that would ensure that we have an integrated infrastructure backbone that would go from Akwa Ibom deep sea port all the way to Katsina.
“We also have another one at Bayelsa which would now join the backbone from Akwa Ibom to Katsina at Enugu. Our whole idea is to make Enugu/ Obollo-Afor Centre Point of integrated infrastructure development plan for the whole South-East region.
“Along this backbone, we are going to have five dimensions of infrastructure development. That would include: power grid, fiber cables, high-speed rail road, dual carriage high and finally, it would include the gas pipeline (70-inch diameter gas pipeline).
“The whole idea is that economic development in Nigeria can only go as fast as infrastructure development would go. Infrastructure development in Nigeria has not been strategic and integrated. The highest cost of infrastructure development is the cost of security and the cost of right of wealth.
“We are looking at other developed countries like Shanghai, Japan, Singapore et cetera and we are trying to emulate their successes of those at best practices in order to bring it to infrastructure development in Nigeria”, he further explained.
On the strategic role of Enugu state in the whole project, he also explained that “Our partnership with Enugu State Government is that the infrastructural backbone is going to pass through the state. Obollo-Afor is the center point for the backbone because we are going to have an inland container port at Obollo-Afor.
“Obollo-Afor also is going to be the center point for the inter-connector project that would go to other areas. For instance, the one coming from Bayelsa is going to connect at Obollo-Afor. So the strategic relationship with Enugu State Government is that it is going to be the center point for the South-East region”, he stated.