Akwa Ibom State government and a Chinese firm located in Uyo, the state capital, are at loggerheads over an alleged environmental pollution arising from the company’s production of motor vehicle brake pads.
There have been reports of environmental degradation and black being emitted from the factory which is located close to the Ikot Ekpene Road in the state capital.
Two years ago, officials of the state Ministry of Environment who visited the factory led by the former commissioner, Charles Udoh were allegedly attacked by workers at the factory.
Two Chinese were said to have been arrested over the matter but the company had failed to relocate or cease production or modernise its production line.
Accordingly, Governor Umo Eno has ordered a detailed investigation into the activities of the manufacturing company known as, Golden Tripod Limited.
Governor Eno gave the order while flagging off the construction of a 2.2Km Tabernacle Road project, off Ikot Ekpene Road, traversing Itu and Uyo Local Government Areas.
Based on reports of environmental pollution from the factory, he directed the Commissioner for Environment and that of Internal Security to avail him with a report on activities of the factory in forty-eight hours.
Eno has also ordered that the factory be moved to the industrial park which is an appropriate location for such ventures in addition to demanding a detailed report of the company’s activities within 48 hours.
“I understand that there is always a serious emission around here. Please first of all find out what they do and immediately relocate them to the industrial park. It is not proper to cite factories in the middle of a city,” he said.
He urged investors establishing factories in the state to utilise the industrial park, assuring that with the new innovations from the government, the park would provide a veritable environment for industries to thrive.
“That Park has been partitioned into one hundred and fifty plots of between four thousand and five thousand square meters.
“What we are saying is that those who are ready to establish industries should come and analyse the kind of industry they intend to create. They will tell us the time frame and the number of people that will be employed, and we will then allocate lands for them.
“We are going to fence it round. We will put a police station there, we are going to get a power station to be there, we will make water available too. It will be like any industrial park anywhere in the world so that when we look at your project, we can allocate a land for you there,” he added.
The Governor also assured that his administration would utilise the Industrial Park to support entrepreneurship to checkmate capital flight in the state, reaffirming that all clothing to support the education innovations of his administration will be produced by Akwa Ibom youths through the various skill acquisition programmes and support by state government.
“We want to move and motivate our young people to be able to have what to do. We will ensure that when you finish your training in the Ibom Leadership Entrepreneurial Centre, we will provide you with a shop in the industrial park and provide you necessary equipment and tools to start practising what you learn.
“That is what our empowerment will look like. Not only will we give you a shop, we will give you business. It is our idea to start providing uniforms and shoes to our pupils in primary schools.”
On the Tabernacle Road project, Governor Eno thanked the people of Uyo and Itu for supporting his emergence as governor and described the intervention as a response to the yearnings of the people as well as fulfilment of his campaign promises to extend development beyond high profile areas in the city to those in the grassroots whose votes saw to his victory at 2023 gubernatorial election.
“It was your desire to have a government that will come and remember the poor and rural dwellers. That is the kind of Government you voted for. This is that dividend of Democracy I promised you. We have come here to thank all the Uyo and Itu people who supported us during the election,” Governor Eno said.
Presenting an overview of the Tabernacle Road project, the Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Eno Ibanga, remarked that beyond the road construction, the project is a major de-flooding work to reclaim the entire area, adding that the end result of the project will be a respite for the people of Uyo and Itu LGAs.
He said the 2.2km road project will be finished with a 0.97Km underground drain that will empty into the Calabar-Itu road drainage, assuring of his Ministry’s commitment to ensure that contractors deliver according to specifications handed them by the state government.
Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Member Representing Itu State Constituency, Kufreabasi Edidem, his Uyo counterpart, Uwemedimo Asuquo, Chairmen of Uyo and Itu Local Government Areas, Uwemedimo Udoh and Etetim Onuk and others who presented goodwill messages at the event, unanimously acknowledged how the people of the area have been plagued by poor condition of the road and thanked the governor for the intervention, assuring him of support for his administration.
Efforts to get the reaction from the company were not successful.