Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel has lamented the destruction of a multi-million dollar worth of coconut plantation by the youths of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of the state.
He added that such an act was not only an economic sabotage to the state but has cut off the employment opportunity the plantation provided for the people.
Speaking on Tuesday, while inaugurating the 16.71Km Abak Ifia-Ikpe Mbak Eyop Ikot Abia Osom-Nko Road with 2.1km outfall drains in Ikot Ekpene and Obot Akara Local Government Areas, the Governor called on youths to take ownership of government projects cited in their communities.
He regretted that the plantation served as a source of raw material for the coconut oil refinery sited in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
He said, “We woke up this morning and the entire Coconut Plantation we planted which were already fruiting was destroyed by the youths of Eastern Obolo, a multi-million dollar project all gone, and we have a refinery.
“I think this is condemnable. I don’t know who will support this, I don’t know who will not condemn this, but I think this is extremely unfair, I believe the youth leaders in the state will rise up to condemn this in totality because you are cutting employment opportunities for the people.”
He lamented that the destruction had truncated negotiations made by investors to invest in the project and called on youth leaders in the state to devise legitimate means of checkmating such acts.
Speaking on the newly inaugurated road project, the Governor noted that the new road, which connects various communities in the two Local Government Areas, was a fulfilment of his promise to provide life-touching projects that will transform the rural communities.
“I said in my second term that we will do a lot that will impact on the economic lives of the people within the rural areas and this project is one of them.
“Let me thank the contractor that handled this project and like the Paramount Ruler said, a lot of food and farm produce from this area will easily be transported to the urban market and it will improve the economic lives of the people,” he stated.
He thanked the youths of Obot Akara and Ikot Ekpene Local Government Areas for their cooperation with the contractors during the construction of the road and called on them to take ownership of every project sited in their communities, stressing that such remained the only means towards development and empowerment where rural communities gain direct benefit.
Presenting an overview of the project, the Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga described the road project as a hybrid road construction handled by Gracib Investment Limited and Flashpoint Technical Services Limited which consisted of two parts.
Ibanga further said that the road project of 16.71km was constructed with side drains and two outfall drains to meet international standard, adding that it had opened up the communities to urban cities for trade and commercial businesses.