Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has inaugurated an industrial starch factory, a 14km Ikot Ikara-Ikot Akpan Essien-Ikot Oto Ibesit Road and another 4.9km Ibesit Okpokoro-Ikot Ibritam Road, with 2.85km outfall drains all in Obot Akara local government area.
Performing the inauguration at the Ibesit axis of the projects, the governor expressed satisfaction with the cooperation of Oruk Anam youths with contractors and investors in the area, assuring them of completing at least 60km of roads, 4 bridges and other development projects before leaving office.
“Let me appreciate the communities, earnestly, if we had done like this from the beginning, today we would have gone far, but despite that I want to say that there are still a lot to be done in Oruk Anam.
“I promised Oruk Anam that before I leave office I will construct not less than 60km of roads with four bridges and the one we are commissioning today is about 22km. Very soon I will come back for Ikot Okoro-Ikot Ibritam Road of about 22.5km with two bridges, I will also come back for Ikot Ibritam-Ekefe-Ikot Akpan Afaha Road”, the governor stated.
Speaking on the value of the industrial starch factory, Governor Emmanuel said there was dire need for increase in starch production to meet the need of pharmaceutical and food companies in Nigeria, hence a yearning market for the factory’s product.
For local farmers in Oruk Anam and the environs, he said the factory will provide a complete value chain for cultivators of cassava and maize, as it will readily off-take produce from cassava and maize farmers as well as other allied businesses.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to enhance agriculture and urged farmers in the State who have been supported with improved farm inputs to desist from random sales of cassava tubers, assuring that the government, through starch industry, will off-take the produce at a fair price to ensure farmers in the state can make a good living from agriculture.
“I will like to see a complete value chain. All those we’ve given input, government is not charging you for those inputs. We’re giving those inputs free of charge because we want good outputs.
“If all of you can do at least half a hectare of cassava or corn, in the nearest future, we’ll be self-sufficient”, Governor Emmanuel said, adding that an equivalent factory will soon be inaugurated for pepper and tomato farmers.
“Don’t be in a hurry to sell of your farm produce at giveaway prices. We have created outlets even for cassava where we are going to off-take, so that you can have appropriate pricing for what you are producing. If you are producing cassava, you should be able to live a very comfortable life.
“We are creating this enabling environment as government so that we can improve the lot of the people and also minimize poverty.” He added.
The Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga, while presenting an overview of the road projects, said the road project has a paved culvert and side drains, 2.95km asphalt drains with 1.8km as underground. He thanked the governor for delivering on his promise to the people of Oruk Anam.
Presenting a goodwill message, Member Representing Oruk Anam in the State House of Assembly and Leader, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Sir Udo Kierian, described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a consistent leader, who has put smiles on the faces of Oruk Anam people with unprecedented road projects, the first to be constructed by any administration, and appealed that broken power lines linking Oruk Anam with Ekim power sub-station be fixed in order to boost economic activities.
On his part, the paramount ruler of Oruk Anam, His Highness Chief J. J. Obosi, thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for making Oruk Anam a part of the developmental strides of his administration, stating that he has demonstrated love towards the people by constructing economically viable roads that hitherto remained an eyesore.
The royal father also solicited the cooperation of farmers to feed the starch factory with needed raw materials.