Ikon Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo LGAs get coconut plantation, refinery

The project, St Gabriel Coconut Plantation And Refinery Limited, which is sited at the portion of land which had been in contention among Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo communities, is expected to provide employment for more than 500 youths who would also undergo training in various aspects of the project

As part of activities to commemorate his one year in office, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has performed a ground breaking for 11,000 hectares of Coconut Plantation and Refinery Project to boast the industrialisation agenda of his administration.
The project, St Gabriel Coconut Plantation And Refinery Limited, which is sited at the portion of land which had been in contention among Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo communities, is expected to provide employment for more than 500 youths who would also undergo training in various aspects of the project.
Performing the ground breaking, Emmanuel said the refinery would cater for the processing of coconut, which is one of the longest surviving plant with more than 365 usages and a value chain that triples other economic generating ventures.
He added that the choice of the disputed land was a divine direction to cultivate and convert what would has been described a waste land to a source of wealth considering the ever-increasing demand and value of coconut in the international market.
The Governor acknowledged that his choice of the disputed land has made it possible for the warring communities to agree to harness their resources for a mega buck project, which would benefit of the people of the catchment communities rather than fighting and killing themselves over it and reiterated his commitment to creatively harness the natural endowments for employment generation, wealth creation and sustainability.
The State Chief Executive therefore charged the host communities to avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the investment to earn a living from it and create enabling environment for the industry to thrive and foster development in the area.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, who set the tone for the ceremony, described coconut as nature’s most endowed and benefiting tree to man.
Enoidem pointed out that with the berth of the industry, Akwa Ibom State would rank 10th in the comity of states embarking on massive coconut planting and processing and that the 11,000 hectares of land would cultivate 2.1 million stands of coconut.
The Investment Commissioner commended Governor Emmanuel for his vision of industrialisation, saying that he has the magic wand to bail the State out of the prevailing economic recession and charged the people, particularly those in the host communities to embrace peace and cooperate with the investors to allow development come into the area.
The Managing Director of H. J. Oil & Foods Consultants Limited, John Scott, stated that Akwa Ibom State is lucky to launch itself into coconut planting and processing, which he added is one of the most profitable business venture with consummate monetary reward in the global economy.
Scott commended the state government for investing in the project, assuring that the investment would address unemployment, yield substantial revenue, facilitate economic growth and bring about development to the state.
The Transition Committee Chairman for Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, Ephraim Akpan, who welcomed the guest on behalf of the three Local Government Areas that donated the land for the project, thanked the Governor for resolving an age-long dispute among the communities on the portion of land and converting it to a money spinning venture that would not only engage the youths but change the living conditions of the people.
Akpan solicited for monetary compensation for economic trees on the land and pledged readiness of the host Communities to support the project to fruition, assuring the investors of peaceful ambience for their businesses.
Political stakeholders, including the House of Representatives member for Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency, Hon. Francis Eduyouk; State House of Assembly member for Mkpat Enin and Ikot Abasi State Constituency, Hon Uduak Ududo; and the Paramount Ruler for Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Udo J. Ntukobom, in their goodwill messages expressed appreciation to Emmanuel for bringing development to the area through his industrialisation blueprint.
They expressed optimism that the project would bring about varying socio-economic benefits to the communities, state and the country.
The highpoint of the occasion was planting of the coconut tree by Governor Emmanuel.
There was also prayer by the three catchment communities for the sustainability of the Coconut Plantation and Refinery Project.
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