The consulate building was the seat of the British colonial administration in 1897, with a district commissioner and other administrative offices. In 2019, NLNG flagged off the construction of the building to restore the memory of the ancient monument.
The building accommodates an FM radio station, office for the King of Bonny, a library, museum, café, cinema, conference hall, seminar/exhibition hall, souvenir shop, utilities, and visitors’ centre.
The construction is a partnership between NLNG, Julius Berger Nigeria (JBN) and Bonny Kingdom. NLNG funded the procurement of project materials, setting up and equipping all the building sections, including the museum, the radio station, the cinema, and the library, among other sections. JBN undertook the design, site construction, supervision, and provision of equipment while the kingdom provided the parcel of land.
The re-construction of the Bonny Consulate Building is part of an NLNG’s initiative to upscale the prominence of Bonny and make it a major investment and tourist destination, diversifying its economy from reliance on oil and gas.
During the commissioning, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike (CON), represented by Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said the building was a monument that would sustain the historical and cultural heritage of Bonny Kingdom, adding that the building connotes the past, present and future of the historical island. He stated further that the consulate building was a strong statement by NLNG to help make Bonny Island an investment and tourism destination.
In his remarks, NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Philip Mshelbila, said NLNG, as a visionary and responsible corporate citizen, was committed to stimulating a viable Bonny Kingdom. He stated that the consulate building, with its rich history, significance and potential, would propel tourism growth on the island and underscore the economic significance of the kingdom before the advent of oil and gas activities on the island.
“The actualisation of the Bonny Consulate Building is a project aimed at a self-sustaining economy in Bonny Kingdom. Other notable projects are the Bonny-Bodo Road, which we are fully funding in partnership with the Federal Government, the NLNG-sponsored Bonny Community Health Insurance Programme (BCHIP) which has enrolled over 8,000 beneficiaries, the ongoing Bonny Malaria Eradication Programme where we are partnering with the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (US-PMI), and our numerous economic empowerment programmes,” he said.