Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has expressed agony over the deteriorating state of the East West Road in Port Harcourt zone, especially the Onne axis leading to the Onne Port.
He has also insisted that economic installations such as the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone should show evidence of benefits to the people of the state.
Fubara said the level of relationship that should exist between it and the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) concerning the Onne Free Zone and the Ikpokiri Green Island will be devoid of charity gestures, according to a statement from Boniface Onyedi, Senior Special Assistant to the governor.
Gov Fubara made the assertion when the Managing Director of OGFZA, Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, led a delegation of management on a courtesy visit to the Government House in Port Harcourt in the week.
The governor said while his administration would leave no stone unturned in creating the right business environment for all investors, issues concerning the development of structures and full utilisation of the Ikpokiri Green Land in the Ogu/Bolo local government area will be seen from how it will benefit the State directly.
According to him, “We are only remembered when there is a need to explore from Rivers State. Oil and Gas Free Zone Onne has never and is not contributing to the welfare of this state.”
He went on: “We all have to sit down and look at things properly, it is no longer charity, because this time around, we mean business.”
Gov Fubara said this new approach arose from the fact that the present Oil and Gas Onne Free Zone has not expanded opportunities for host communities nor made the standards of living better.
He wondered why the OGFZA is not worried about the poor state of the East-West Road that has caused untold hardship to motorists, especially as heavy trucks from their operations contribute to the dilapidated state of the road.
Fubara appreciated them for identifying with his administration and in the same breath expressed a desire to attract increased investment to the State.
Fubara, however, insisted that for the proper take-off of any business activities at Ikpokiri, the State must know what specific and tangible benefits the state could derive before it can be given the required support.
The MD of the OGFZA told the governor of the levels of support they require from the State government to put to full use the Ikpokiri Green Land as an Economic Free Zone.
The MD talked about latent opportunities for wealth and job creation with the number of investors already jostling for the zone if the Rivers State Government would take advantage of the area to support OGFZA in the development effort.