. Lawmakers during the visit to Four Points by Sheraton Hotels in Ikot Ekpene yesterday
Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly have expressed satisfaction with the furnishing and quality of facilities at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel sited in Ikot Ekpene area of the state.
The Speaker, Mr Onofiok Luke, gave the assessment on behalf of his colleagues, yesterday, when he joined members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Finance on an inspection visit and facility tour of the 146 rooms hotel which was built by the Godswill Akpabio’s administration.
“When i speak as head of the legislature, i should be seen as speaking from the point of authority, that’s why I’m here to see things for myself.
“I am impressed at the level of work that I have seen here and the level of furnishing.
“This is the kind of thing I see outside this country, and these are the things I see outside this state”, Luke said at the end of the inspection exercise.
Luke who assured the state government of the support of the House of Assembly for the smooth take of the hotel, commended former Governor, Godswill Akpabio for his vision in building the facility, and equally hailed Governor Udom Emmanuel for the efforts he has so far put in place to ensure the smooth operational take off of the hotel.
The Speaker, who earlier led members of the legislature on a breakfast meeting with the Governor at the Government House, disclosed that Governor Udom Emmanuel had briefed them on the steps his government has already taken to ensure that the hotel opens its door for operation.
Luke revealed that the state government has fulfilled its own part of the contractual obligation with Marriott Group, the new managers of the hotel, with the payment of $7.2 million (about N2.6 billion) for work to progress in the hotel.
While he advocated for the inclusion of local contents in staff recruitment for the hotel, Mr Luke expressed gratitude to Governor Udom Emmanuel for his prudence in the management of the state’s resources, especially in making sure that they (resources) are spread to different areas of the state.
“We will be interested in the inclusion of local content at the level of recruitment of the people that are going to work here.
“Akwa Ibom people must not be given only menial jobs, they must be given managerial positions by Marriott Group as the hotel kick-starts and I believe that this will help reverse the unemployment issue that has been captured by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“This is a well developed environment for retreat. We will be holding our next retreat here in Four Points By Sheraton in August when we return from recess. We are satisfied with the level of furnishing”
“We are going to make sure that all the interests as captured by the Akwa Ibom people during the public hearing on the 2018 Appropriations Bill is addressed so that we can have an appropriation law that satisfies the yearnings and aspirations of the people, an appropriation law that is seen to further extend the frontiers of development to spread across the length and breadth of Akwa Ibom State”,he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Usoro AkpanUsoh Usoro, who noted that the visit was in line with the oversight responsibilities of the legislature, stated that since his committee was working the 2018 Appropriation Bill, it was necessary for lawmakers to undertake an on the spot assessment to see things for themselves in order to be properly guided while considering the proposal of the Ministry of Housing and Special Duties in relation to the hotel project.
Receiving the team, the Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Akan Okon, who conducted the lawmakers round the various units, rooms, offices and facilities in the hotel, requested the appropriation committee to approve the needed funds as contained in the budget to enable the contractor fix some few items that are required to be put in place to meet the standard by the managers.
He listed the construction of a befitting car park, drive way, installation of some recreational facilities in the rooms, among others, as some of the few items needed to be installed before the full commencement of operation at the hotel.
Mr Okon disclosed that the facility will commence operation in the next six month.
He said that that the new managers, Marriott Group, had bought over the StarWood Group who were the initial managers earlier contracted to run the hotel.
He said that N4.240 billion is proposed for the hotel in the budget, adding that that it has 146 rooms with128 standard rooms, 16 suites and presidential attached suites.
Propellerng.com observed at the time of visit that many facilities, including elevators, suites and rooms, kitchen, power house, were in good condition.
Among other lawmakers on the tour were: the House Leader, Udo Kierian Akpan; Chief Whip, Emmanuel Ekpenyong; Otobong Jonathan (Ukanafun State Constituency), Aniefiok Dennis (Etinan) and Mfon Ekong, who represents Nsit Ibom.
The team is expected to visit the Ibom International Airport and the Akwa Ibom Governor’s lodge in Lagos on Thursday.
Also lined up for inspection by the lawmakers include, some ongoing road projects, Coconut plantation and Refinery as well as the Akwa Ibom state University.