By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Resuscitating the moribund Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) in Oku Iboku, Akwa Ibom State could help to resolve the aged-long boundary dispute between the State and Cross River.
The Akwa Ibom state deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo stated this when the House of Representatives’ Committee on Privatization and Commercialization paid a courtesy call on him while in the state on an oversight functions for the study of NNMC and Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria( ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi.
Ekpo pointed out that NNMC located near the boundary between the two states when operational, indigenes from both Akwa Ibom and Cross River states were gainfully employed, hence its immediate revival may help term the tide of the conflict which in each incident led to loss of lives and property.
The deputy governor called on the federal government to expedite action on the resuscitation of NNMC and ALSCON, adding that if revived, it would go a long way to boost the nation’s economy.
He commended the committee for considering two firms for inspection and described it as important, saying that it would afford the committee the opportunity to make in dept study of the situations regarding the companies with a view to making recommendations on the way forward.
Ekpo lamented before the committee that Akwa Ibom as the treasury base of the federal government having been the largest producer of crude oil but no federal government presence was felt in the state.
Akwa Ibom he added, lack a petroleum depot, while federal roads were in a deplorable state with the state government taking the responsibility to intervene in many issues.
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Mallam Ahmed Yerima, said that his committee was in the state to have on the spot assessments of facilities of the companies and their state of conditions in order to give recommendation to the federal government for action.
Yerima also told the deputy governor that his committee which is in charge of other matters on privatization and commercialization was working on a recent report on non-performing Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) privatized industries in the country for onward recommendations to the federal government for action.
Yerima further explained that the action by the committee followed a motion moved by a member representing Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin/ Eastern Obolo, Mr. Francis Uduyok calling for investigations into ailing industries in the country and therefore sought the cooperation of the state government in the task ahead.
Throwing more light on the visit, Uduyok on his part said like the ALSCON which bidding attracted a legal battle before the resolution, the committee would look at the process whether to call for a fresh bidding for a core investor or not, for the company to start working .
On the newsprint he stated that the bidder had not taken steps in reviving the company after buying, so the committee would liaise with the BPE to find out what happened for a solution to the seemingly failure.
Accompanied on the visit were, the representative of Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency, Dr Henry Archibong, other members of the Committee and the Clerk of the House.