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HomeNewsCOCONUT REFINERY: STATE GOVERNMENT MEETS HOST COMMUNITIES

COCONUT REFINERY: STATE GOVERNMENT MEETS HOST COMMUNITIES

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The Akwa Ibom State Government, through Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry, recently, has demonstrated commitment to its industrialization drive.
Speaking to a cross section of host communities of the proposed Coconut Refinery in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, the Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, reiterated the determination of government to bring the project to reality.
Barr. Enoidem, who was accompanied by some senior staff of the Ministry and the South African consultants to the project, noted that the meeting was to enable stakeholders involved in the refinery project to meet, synergize and come out with a memorandum of understanding that will safeguard the project.
“I had said earlier that this refinery is one of the key projects in the government of Udom Emmanuel. The preliminary cost of the project is 82million Dollars. If you convert that to Naira, you’ll know how much it is worth. This is one project that will not stand alone. It is expected that besides the 11,000 hectares of plantation, there will be a refinery, an industrial pack and other things to compliment it.”
The Commissioner, who disclosed that the projects requires 20,000 hectares of land, further noted that there have been series of disruptions by the communities since the site clearing commenced.
He commended the member representing the area in the State House of Assembly, Engr. Otobong Ndem, for his forthrightness, sincerity and determination to ensure that the people of the area feel the impact of government.
In remarks, Engr. Ndem thanked the Governor Udom Emmanuel for siting the project in Mkpat Enin, saying that besides creating employment opportunities for his people, the project will also open the area to development.
The assemblyman, who commended the people for their peaceful conduct during their agitations, said “development always comes with a price. We should be ready to make sacrifices in order to attract more developmental projects to Mkpat Enin.”
He called on the people to remain peaceful and cooperate with government, stressing that “no meaningful thing can be achieved in the atmosphere of strife. Government will look into all your demands.”
Responding, the Chairman, Coconut Refinery Land Donors Association, Etidung Raymond Udia, said “the people agitated because due process was not followed before the commencement of work at the project site as the government failed to do proper consultations.”
“There is a piece of land that is under dispute between Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo, which has claimed many lives. Presently, the case is in Court. The Governor had promised that he will use the refinery project to end the dispute by using that land. Our only demand is that the government should clear the disputed land so that the lingering crisis between the two local government areas will be over and the Court case withdrawn. That is our common position. Let the government do this so that the project will continue,” he said.
Other speakers from the communities corroborated the position of Etidung Udia and urged the State Government to demonstrate its goodwill and sincerity towards the people of the area through the land dispute issue and also try to pay the necessary compensations and other benefits due to the people.
Also present were the Mkpat Enin Transition Committee Chairman, Mr. Ephraim Akpan; the Project CLO for Mkpat Enin, Odudu Udobia; the Clan Head; Village Heads of the 14 host communities; members of Council of Chiefs; youths and other stakeholders.

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