Abia state government has announced that its modular refinery being built at the Abia Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP), Owaza, in Ukwa West LGA will come on stream in 2025.
The state commissioner for information and culture, Prince Okey Kanu disclosed this while briefing the press alongside some other members of the Executive Council on the outcome of this week’s Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Alex Otti.
He said it is a project that is important to the Alex Otti-led government and every effort is being put in to ensure that the date will be met,
He stated: “The modular refinery project of Abia Industrial Innovation Park will come on stream in 2025. It will be the first major industrial project of that industrial park.
“Of course, once that refinery comes on stream, it would provide job opportunities to the teeming youths in excess of about two thousand jobs.
“These are direct jobs, when you want to talk about the indirect jobs, it would run into thousands as well. It would help provide refined products for Abians as well as increase the revenue base of the State.”
The commissioner said that the State government is making efforts to reap the huge opportunities provided by the petroleum and mineral resources endowment in the State, saying that “in this regard, a lot of investors are jostling to come and invest in Abia state.”
Contributing, the Commissioner for Petroleum, Professor Joel Ogbonna said the new Government has been in a hurry to bring transformation through the establishment of the industrial innovation park.
He said: “About two thousand hectares of land has been acquired in Owaza. Before now, many of us didn’t know that we had oil and gas in Abia State even though this has been a curse rather a blessing to Abia because of the bad governance of successive governments. Right now, we want to convert those wastes to wealth”
According to Prof. Ogbonna, the modular refinery “presents a huge opportunity for job and wealth creation and of course, we are taking advantage of the natural endowment which we have not taken advantage of before now.
“So, I do believe that in the next couple of years, job opportunities would be huge, AIIP is in the position to provide over ten thousand jobs and I look forward to that.”
On infrastructure, Prince Okey Kanu informed that about four roads would soon be commissioned by Governor Alex Otti as Jubilee Road is 100 percent completed while the other three are nearing completion.
He added that the renovated Ummunneato Igbere and Okpuala Ngwa General hospitals would be commissioned soon.
Prince Okey Kanu also said that there is a suspected measles outbreak in two LGAs of the State including Arochukwu and Umunneochi.
Throwing more light on the outbreak of measles in the two local government areas, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo said that if up to three children are affected by this condition, then, it’s considered an outbreak.
She however said: “We are currently mopping up to identify those children and also ascertain when this condition started and all of that.
“For now, it is just three of them and not more than three. For us, once it gets to that number it’s already declared an outbreak. We are trying to identify them and avert any further spread and as I speak, it is under control.”