The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is to establish one agricultural processing mill in each of the four Federal Constituencies making up Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District as a pilot scheme for Akwa Ibom State.
The Managing Director of the commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere, announced this on Saturday in Uyo while playing host to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Women Forum.
Of the four, three palm oil processing mills are to be located in Ukanafun/Oruk Anam, Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim and Ikono/Ini Federal Constituencies while a garri processing mill is to be sited in Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency.
Ekere disclosed that the pilot scheme would be replicated in other parts of the state in due course.
The NDDC boss used the opportunity to call on members of the forum yet to register as voters to take advantage of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stressing that “in 2019 there will be voting and votes will count.”
He urged the women to continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari, pointing out that the President has shown much love for the people of the Niger Delta as reflected in the number of appointments given to indigenes of the region and the location of key projects including the Coastal rail line from Calabar to Lagos.
Chief Ini Okori, a prominent politician in the senatorial district, described the forum as a formidable and politically-faithful group, adding that the women, elders and youths of the senatorial district were determined to vote for the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in 2019.
In her speech, the President of the forum, Mrs. Ekaette Ime, lauded Ekere for his contribution to the growth of APC in the state and assured him of the support of the women of the senatorial district.
She, however, called on Ekere to consider the women of the senatorial district in the NDDC empowerment programmes and employment opportunities.
A former President of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Akwa Ibom State, Obonganwan Mmenyene Nkwo, said the women were steadfast in praying for Ekere’s success.
A former State Woman Leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Lady Victoria Mel-Udoh, stated that the forum was embarking on a ward-to-ward drive to strengthen the APC in the senatorial district.
With Ekere to receive the women, who numbered over a hundred, were a former Member of the House of Representatives, Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia Jr, a former Member of the State House of Assembly, Engr. Akanimo Edet, and the President of Progressives’ Women Forum, Obonganwan Dora Ebong.
Credit: Inemesit Ina