In an effort to create jobs for the teeming youths and boost industrialisation, governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has performed the ground breaking ceremony of 11,000 hectares of coconut plantation and refinery in the state.
The project, St Gabriel Coconut Plantation And Refinery Limited which is situated 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, Governor Emmanuel said that the refinery would cater for the processing of coconut which is one of the longest surviving plants 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 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 project which would benefit the people of the catchment communities rather than fighting and killing themselves over it.
He reiterated his commitment to creatively harness the natural endowments for employment generation, wealth creation and sustainability.
He 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.
He pointed out that with the berth of the industry, Akwa Ibom would rank 10th in the comity of states embarking on massive coconut planting and processing.