The Imo State Government has opened discussion with stakeholders and leaders from some communities in Oguta local government area over her intention to establish a special agro-industrial processing zone in the area.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State held a Town Hall Meeting with the people of Ejemekwuru, Akabor, Agwa and Izombe, all in Oguta, to discuss issues surrounding the proposed siting of a Special agro-industrial processing zone in their land and area.
Speaking at Central School Ejemekwuru, venue of the meeting Tuesday, Governor Uzodimma, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku told the stakeholders that Imo State is extremely lucky to have someone in the person of Governor Uzodimma with the capacity to attract such a gigantic project to Imo State and the only one for the Southeast.
Prof Njoku said the project which is funded by AfDB, IFAD and other development partners is Agro-based and will focus on poultry, piggery, maize and Soya-bean production and that the bye-products from Anom Gas plant, Adapalm, the proposed Seaport, the Naval Base and the expected Rail line crossing the State will be handy for the farm to use.
He said in addition, the excess of the products from the SAPZ will be easily transported through the Sam Mbakwe International CargoAirport, Owerri to other places where they would be needed.
The Deputy Governor explained: “The project is an Imo project but Oguta is lucky to be the host Local Government Area.”
He drummed it into their ears that the project is for the overall interest of Imo people and that “Government cannot see anything that is bad and attract it to her people.”
On the benefit of the project, Prof. Njoku, said that it will create over 3000 jobs, stem the tide of unemployment, curtail youth restiveness, and bring electricity, good roads and development in all ramifications.
He appealed to the leaders and the stakeholders made up of men and women including youths and even children to embrace the project and remove the issue of RUGA from their mindset as the Special Agro-processing Industrial zone has nothing to do with RUGA.
In their various contributions, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Petroleum, Rt Hon Goodluck Opia, his Technical counterprt, Hon Jones Uzoka, the former Commissioner for Special Duties, Barr Francis Dibiagwu as well as the General Manager Adapalm Ltd, Dr Goddy Essom Obodo, all appealed to their people to see reason and openly accept the project.
They noted that they had made their people to know that the project is one of the best things that can happen to Imo State in general and especislly, Oguta community.
In his presentation, the project consultant, Prof Chiedozie said that the Special Agro Industrial Processing Zone SAIPZ will start with a modern Livestock production that will provide high quality protein to the community and Imo State in general.
In addition, they said there will be industrial production of maize, cassava and Suya bean.
Most of the leaders from the four communities who spoke expressed concern that surrendering their land will affect their source of livelihood as farmers.
They included Chief Justice Ohaegbu from Ejemekwuru, Chief Felix Uba from Agwa, Mrs Vivian Uloma Achinine, also from Ejemekwuru among others.
However, appreciating the government’s visit and the discussions, a community leader from the area, Hon Chief Ethelbert Nnanna thanked all for their contributions and appealed to his people to see reason and consider the siting of the noble project in their area.
The Deputy Governor was accompanied on the visit by the SA to the Governor on Planning and Strategy, Chief Mrs Ngozi Pat- Ekeji, Technical Assistant to the Governor, Mrs. Bola Adigun and other members of the Expanded Executive Council.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor