Governor Emmanuel Commissions St Gabriel Coconuts Oil Refinery in Akwa Ibom

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo


St. Gabriel Coconuts Oil Refinery, one of the ‘must-do projects’ initiated by Governor Udom Emmanuel administration in Akwa Ibom State has been commissioned.


Governor Emmanuel, while commissioning the project on Friday, described the project as  the first in magnitude and level in Africa, adding that the project came through his desire to open more widows for foreign direct investments. 
He hinted that the high demand of coconut oil in the international markets with a barrel of it going for $1,326, and the dwindling crude oil fortunes moved him to explore other economic possibilities, using the available resources. 
According to him, coconuts oil has become a major economic driver in the international market.
The governor who announced the plan to commence an immediate training of indigenous hands to man the refinery, said the facility has a daily capacity to crack 1,000,000 coconuts and will employ no fewer than 3,000 direct and indirect staff.  
He pledged to plant two million more stands before end of his administration on May 2023. 
“St. Gabriel Coconut Oil Refinery is first of this magnitude and level of seriousness in Africa. Gabriel means God is my strength. We banish barrenness of our productivity and economy. When nobody is bringing money to Nigeria, Akwa Ibom is attracting foreign direct investment.
“Coconut oil goes for $1,326 per barrel. The demand for crude would not be as it used to be, but as a visionary leader, we are prepared for the future even if you take away the crude oil. What we are doing is to turn what God has given into money. When I saw coconut everywhere, I thought of turning it to money. it has 365 uses. 
“The factory is modern, smart and adaptive to also process palm kernel oil. If we can do this at the sub-national level when we don’t control the policy, only God knows what we would do when we can control the policy”.  
Commenting on the project, the former Governor of Benue State, Sen. Gabriel Suswam advised Governor Emmanuel to replicate his leadership style and strides across Nigeria when he becomes President. 
Suswam, who is Chairman, Udom Emmanuel Campaign  Council for President 2023, said Akwa Ibom is ahead of Nigeria in some economic sense. 
While noting that the federal allocation shared in Abuja was not enough to guarantee a prosperous state,  Suswam however, applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for venturing into an area as unique as coconut oil refinery to boost his state’s economy. 
 “The resources shared in Abuja is not enough. You came, saw Akwa Ibom in a state of despair and left Akwa Ibom a prosperous state. What you have done in Akwa Ibom has not been done in Nigeria. You are commissioning Akwa Ibom on a global stage. Replicate this in Nigeria when you become President”. he said 
Flagged off on May 24, 2017 in  Ikot Akpan Okop Village in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state, St. Gabriel Coconut Oil Factory Project, a major industrial investment by Akwa Ibom State Government commenced with the cultivation of two -million stands of hybrid coconut seedlings on an 11- hectare expanse of land.
The refinery comprises a factory complex complete with administrative offices, production areas, technical spaces, industrial fire fighting systems.
Other facilities within the complex include water treatment plants, effluent treatment plants and residential quarters for technical and managerial staff as well as parking areas for several raw materials bearing vehicles.

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