By PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Chairman of Itu Local Government Council, Mr. Etetim Onuk has called on the federal government to resuscitate the moribund Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) In Oku-Iboku as a way to create employment opportunity for the growing jobless population and reduce restiveness among youth.
Onuk stated this on Wednesday while leading members of the Federal Government Inter- Ministerial Committee on Resuscitation of Paper Mills and those from the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Trade and Investment on a tour of the moribund NNMC in Oku Iboku Onuk said that if the federal government consider rehabilitating the establishment, it would not only ensure meaningful engagement of thousands of the citizens but also stimulate the economy of the local government area and the state at large.
He observed that since the company went moribund many years ago, the place has been inactive which culminated in the wanton plundering of the facility by vandals, which he roundly condemned. The Itu Council Boss called who harped on a maintenance and sustenance culture, lauded the state Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his support towards this assessment tour which he expressed optimism that it would yield positive result in the nearest future.
He said he was hopeful that the company would be rehabilitated or the vast land used for some other beneficial venture and commended the Inter-ministerial Committee for opting for a meticulous and an on the spot assessment of the facility. While addressing newsmen, the leader of the Federal Evaluation Team and Assistant Controller of Customs, Mrs. Rebecca Akpang said the Committee’s mission to Akwa Ibom State include ascertaining the exact status of the paper mill in Oku Iboku and report same to government
She thanked the Council Chairman for personally leading them on the tour of the facility and disclosed the Federal Government’s passionate desire to rehabilitate moribund industries across the country, a position which was corroborated by another member of the committee; Mr. Abdulaziz Muazu Mafindi of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. Other members of the assessment delegation include; Dr. Aina Kehinde; Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, T. G. Allu; Central Bank of Nigeria headquarters, Abuja, Daniel Oduobuk; Director Commerce; Ministry of Trade and Investment, Asian L. Umoren; Chief Commercial Officer; Ministry of Trade and Investment, Uyo and Mr. Effiong G. Ukofia; Senior Industrial Promotions Officer; Ministry of Trade and Investment, Uyo.