The Akwa Ibom State Government has announced it commitment in commencing operations at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
The statement was confirmed by the State’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh when members of the State House of Assembly Committee on Special Duties went on an inspection at the project’s site.
Four years after its inauguration, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State may commence operations in December.
The projects initiated and inaugurated by Chief Godswill Akpabio then Akwa Ibom governor and an initial management agreement signed with Starwood Hotels later turned to a subject of controversy that the present administration said it was inaugurated without a signed Franchise agreement and full complement of requisite furniture and fittings.
At the moment, Gov. Udom Emmanuel administration has confirmed that the hotel is 90 percent ready and would soon be handed over to the Marriott Group for commercial operations.
Etteh said the initial delay was caused by the fact that the luxury facility had to be adapted to the standard of its new envisaged Manager, the Marriott Group.
He said, to ensure its optimal functionality, steady power supply from the national grid through a dedicated line had since been secured.
The Commissioner together with the representative of Marriott Rob Vander Velden, showed the committee round different aspects of the facility including the Presidential suite, executive suites and standard rooms.
Earlier, Engr. Ephraim Udosen of the Ministry of Special Duties, had said that although the building was completed prior to the commencement of the Emmanuel administration, such lapses as the furnishing, access road, car park, operating and supply equipment as well as Information, Communication Technology facilities had been adequately addressed.
Engr. Udosen who is also the supervisor of the project said a permanent maintenance contractor was engaged for the facility since 2015 to ensure that the already installed facilities were not vandalized nor looted.
The Marriott Group representative, Mr. Rob Vander Velden, who expressed satisfaction that his organization’s specifications were met in installation at the luxury facility, expressed enthusiasm of their readiness to commence operations.
On the mode of recruitment, Mr. Velden said standard procedures would be followed beginning from advertisements on the organization’s website in inviting qualified applicants for a standard test and an interview.
He, however, assured that qualified indigenes will be considered.
The committee Chairman also a representative of the Ibesikpo Asutan state constituency, Mr. Aniekan Uko, thanked all involved in the project for demonstrating sincerity and commitment to ensuring commencement of operations.
Uko, therefore, called on the Marriott Group to evolve a business and marketing strategy to justify the huge investments in the luxury facility.
The committee later inspected the second taxiway under construction at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo and the 21-storey Intelligent Building for multinationals, emphasizing the need for the contractors to stick to specifications and timeline for the delivery of the contracts.