Uyo — The Akwa Ibom State Leaders Caucus has rejected plans by the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to site a Nuclear Power plant in Itu local Government Area of the state. The group attributed their rejection of the Nuclear Power plant to disastrous consequences that failure of nuclear plants had brought in other parts of the world.
The leaders' caucus questioned why Nigeria, which they said had a perennial incompetence in matters of safety and security, could venture into such a risky project, while countries with known competences, like Germany, Italy, USA, Russia and Japan are shutting down such plants.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on last week Thursday, the Leaders Caucus represented by Senator Anietie Okon said that for Nigeria with its famed lack of maintainable culture, to dabble into such risky venture was a clear and deliberate invitation to disaster of monumental proportions.
The group which said Akwa Ibom was grossly unsuitable for such project noted that all over the world, nuclear plants are cited far away from human habitation. They argued that Akwa Ibom was small and compact and that there was no distance across the state that was beyond 50 kilometres.
He queried, "The location of nuclear plants all over the world is done far away from human habitation. For instance, the Japanese project is mostly offshore. It was the surge of the Tsunami that created and blighted major areas of the Japanese coastline, to the extent that people have been evacuated and quarantined. Women in those areas have recently been giving birth to monstrous-looking creatures in the name of babies. Given the above scenario, one wonders what qualifies Akwa Ibom State for such project.
"The state has a total land area of only 7,081 km with an estimated population of about five million persons. That spreads out to 706 persons per kilometre density which is one of the highest in the country. Where then will the plant be sited?"
Okon called on the federal government to partner the state to facilitate realisation of the Ibaka Deep seaport project and quick implementation of the conversion of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, to a degree awarding institution.
He regretted that the only visible direct Federal Government industrial projects in Akwa Ibom in the last 40 years are the moribund Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company in Oku Iboku and the Aluminium Smelter plant in Ikot Abasi.
He added "This particular move by the federal government looks like a Greek gift and it is becoming more obvious that Akwa Ibom State is viewed by the central government as Siberia where projects with extreme disaster potentials are targeted and located".
He further questioned the motive behind the nuclear plant and asked the federal government to explore other available and harmless sources of power in the state, including the Ibom Power plant.
Senator Okon challenged Rostaom, the Russian Firm commissioned to build the project to declare one of such projects they had completed anywhere in the world.
In a press text jointly signed by Air Cmdr Idongesit Nkanga, Sen Anietie Okon, Sen Effiong Bob, Hon Ndueso Easier, Hon. Larry Esin, Engr Offiong Akpabio, Hon Esio Okwong Udoh and Dr Augustine Usoro, the Leaders Caucus wondered how NEMA which they said had been found wanting in the management of "common flood and fire disaster cases" could handle a nuclear disaster.