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Imo industrial layouts in ruins, decay

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-Industrialists lament waste

(Culled from The Sun Newspaper, Wed., July 2, 2014)

One of the visions of the late Dr. Sam Mbakwe, the first executive governor of old Imo State, which comprised the present Abia State and some parts of Ebonyi State was to ensure that the state was industrialized.

To achieve this, Mbakwe had established industrial estates in Aba and Owerri.  In 1981 to be precise he had established the Imo State industrial layout situated along the Owerri-Onitsha road to ensure that old Imo State has sufficient manufacturing concerns not only to boost commerce but to equally provide employment for the citizens of the state.

Vehicles stranded along  the water-logged  major road at the industrial layout Owerri , while another tries to "swim" through.

Vehicles stranded along the water-logged major road at the industrial layout Owerri , while another tries to “swim” through.

 

In the early 1990s, Imo State had about 1,858 manufacturing industries and the majority of them were situated in the industrial layout, which had provided gainfully employment for thousands of teeming youths and other citizens of the state.

This was beside the revenue in generation for the government of the state through taxes.

However, over the years as successive governments failed to provide good access roads and other basic infrastructure to the industrial layout it inevitably forced most of the manufacturing factories to relocate to areas that are more accessible, leaving the hitherto vibrant industrial estate comatose.

It would be recalled that immediately Owelle Rochas Okorocha was sworn in as governor of Imo state he had budgeted the sum of N15 billion each for the revival of state-owned companies, as well as to create enabling environment by providing infrastructure needed in the already existing industrial layout in the state as part of his rescue mission agenda.

But three years down the line, the situation in the industrial layout has not changed, neither is there any effort by the state government to provide access road and other infrastructure needed to revive the vast industrial layout and thus bring industrialists back to the place.

When Oriental News recently visited the expansive industrial layout now lying waste, it was discovered that the place has been long abandoned as the majority of the industries have become the abode of dangerous reptiles and hideout for hoodlums.

Some of the few companies that are still opening, mostly construction firms complained bitterly of the terrible state of the access roads to the industrial layout.

A staff of one of the construction firms, Onyeka Samuel told Oriental News that one of the major problems facing the few companies still in the area was the terrible conditions of the roads which only big trucks or jeeps could ply.

He said that no small car could pass through the roads, disclosing that most manufacturing companies had long abandoned the place because the state government has refused to provide good access roads to the industrial layout.

“You can see for yourself that all the roads leading to this place are in terrible condition and there is no way people can come here to establish their companies and even those who were here before had long abandoned their factories.  We are still here because we are into civil engineering, and so we do not manufacture any product, but sell our services.

“Our clients do not come to our office because of the bad roads, when they want our services they will call and ask for a meeting with the management of the company in their own offices in town.  Even state government officials who are in charge of internal revenues have to get to this place in jeeps to assess taxes of the very few companies that are still operating here, mostly the construction companies”, he said.

Also speaking in the same vein, Chukwuemeka Nnamdi, a staff of Crystal Company, a firm producing edible oil, corroborated that the major problem they face in the industrial layout was lack of access road, saying that most of their customers find it extremely difficult to come to their factory especially during the rainy season.

He pointed out that besides shortage power and water which companies in the industrial layout had devised means of providing by themselves, the place, he said, was not secured as the only police post in the area has long been abandoned.

It is a herculean task for the few factories that are still operating in this place because besides the absence of power and water, there is no security because the only police post in the entire area has been long abandoned, not to talk about the terrible roads in the place.  Even it is always difficult for workers to get to their factories and ferried to the place in the trucks of their companies because the only transport that could take one to this place are motorcycles”, he lamented.

Similarly, Chief Felix Uwakwe, an entrepreneur, pointed out that the industrialists had to abandon the industrial layout because successive governments after the late Sam Mbakwe had been paying lip service to industrializing the state as they did not provide the enabling environment for industries to thrive in the state.

He wondered what the Ministry of Industry was created for when it has no plans to industrialize the state or help revive the moribund ones.

“The problem with this government like its predecessors is that they think that erecting market stalls is an industry and that is why they have been constructing shops all over the state which they will sell to traders while neglecting to give attention to the real sector which is manufacturing and production of goods.  If the government is really interested in industrializing the state it would have ensured that the vast Imo State Industrial Layout would not have been abandoned because of the lack of security, water and access roads.

“In some other places the government would have provided the needed infrastructure in the industrial layout to lessen the expenses of prospective entrepreneurs, but that has not been done and so it was no surprise that the place has been abandoned by the majority of the companies and the government is not worried about the state of affairs, instead they are granting licenses on a daily basis for people to build hotels in Owerri”, he regretted.

He further stated that “the state governor imported uniforms and sandals from China because, according to him, there was no industry in the state that had the capacity to produce over 600,000 school uniforms in one month, but what has the same governor done to ensure that the local cloth making outlets have the same conducive environment to produce”?

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nnodim

    October 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Mbakwe also established similar industrial estate in Orlu – precisely in Amike Orlu – along Orlu-Amaokpara Road. Mbakwe acquired the estate, placed a huge sign board on the spot. The estate remains intact.

    Owerri Reporters who circle the borders of Imo state to include only Owerri area are even worse than the Gov. Okorocha they vilify.

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EVENTS

HRH Eze Peter Opara inaugurates cabinet

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HRH Eze Peter Opara  inaugurates cabinet

…As traditional leadership gets boost at Umunumo Ancient Kingdom

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional leadership of Umunumo Autonomous Community, Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State received a resounding boost on Sunday August 23, as the cabinet members were formally inaugurated by HRH, Eze Peter Chima Opara (Eze Udo II).

The assemblage of top brass personalities into the cabinet is indicative of robust prospects for the growth and development of the Ancient Autonomous Community.

Inaugurating the members of the Eze-in-Council, the Royal Father charged the inductees to shun personal interest and put the community in the front burner for a rapid transformation and development. He enjoined the cabinet members to be proactive, articulative and dogged about the welfare of the community, employment and empowerment of the youths so that a new chapter is enacted.

According to him, many are called, but few are chosen. He charged them to move the community to the next level by articulating right attitude and formulate policies that will accelerate the development of the community. He cautioned against indolence and insubordination that can retard the unity and development of the community.

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

In his remarks, the President-General of the Town, Chief Godwin Uwah working in synergy with the royal father advised that the various Town Unions leadership should synergize and work in one page with the cabinet members. Chief Godwin Uwah observed that membership of cabinet is subject to review every four years.

Among the cabinet members comprise Chief Godwin Uwah PG, Sir MCN Asawalam (KSM), Chief Chidi Ogueri, Chief Sir Emmanuel Ibe, Chief Aloka Alexander, Nze H.D. Eze, Mr. Emeto K. Michael, Nze Godwin Amaku, Mr. Columba Ohazurike, Chief Mel Daimeon Osuji (Omereoha), Hon Ononamadu Emeka Joseph, Chief Peter Crown Duru, Chief Romanus Ogueri, Comrade Godwin Ihekwoaba, Nze Romanus Chukwu, Nze Vincent Ukah, Chief E. Evaristus Okafor, Chief S. Okele, Nze Clement Iwueze, Hon Felix Iwuji, Chief S. Obikaonu, Hon Kelechi Iwueze, Mr. Joseph Obi Onyema (Deputy PG), ACP H. Agbiogwu, Chief M.C. Okoro, Nze Nneji Boniface, Nze Charles Nwokoro, Nze Edmund Nwokeke, Chief Joseph Anosike, Chief M. Dingwo, Chief Columbia Isikuma, Chief Oliver Agbaso, Ichie Bernard Nwohiri, Nze Titus Iwunze, Chief Romanus Ijejiobi and all village chairmen constitute members of the enlarged cabinet. HRH Eze P. Alozie, Abunumo I graced the event.

In a vote of thanks, Chief Mel-Daimeon Osuji, promised on behalf of the members of the Eze’s cabinet to live above board like Caesar’s wife. He observed that he was humbled to speak on behalf of the top brass personalities who constitute the Eze-in-Council and also made a personal donation of one million naira.

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet  members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet
members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

In his contribution, Hon. Emeka Joseph Ononammadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State, who is also a member of the cabinet made a mouthwatering financial support and others including Sir. M.C.N. Asawalam donated handsomely.

Inducting the new cabinet members, Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for the Royal Father and the cabinet members.

He eulogized the royal father for putting God first in his nascent leadership. He admonished the PG and the members of the Eze-in-Council to ensure peace and unity in their various domain. He spoke against injustice, insubordination and manipulative divisive tendencies that will sow seed of discord in the community. He prayed God to bless the royal father with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Msgr. Ofoegbu prayed for longitivity, peace and development of Umunumo Ama-Iri community. He cautioned against sectionalism and maltreatment of widows, orphans and the less privileged in the society.

Traditional cuisine of palm wine, Ugba with stockfish and other local delicacies were served to all and sundry. Eze & Ugoeze Ekwunno, Eze Umuezeala Oguara graced the event amid pomp and pageantry.

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FEATURED

Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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LOCAL NEWS

Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap – Eze Iwuoha

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Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap - Eze Iwuoha

…As truck survives crash into river

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional Ruler of Odenkwume Autonomous Community, HRH, Eze Iwuoha Austin (Nkwume II) has cried out against the deplorable and deadly condition of the Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume bridge which he described as a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.

According to him, the very narrow and dilapidated bridge pose serious threat to lives of natives and commuters plying the only route leading through his domain to their kits and kins in Obowo Local Government Area.

Nkwume (II), disclosed that several persons have lost their lives through accidents occasioned by the porous and deadly bridge. He narrated a chilling experience of how two occupants of a car drowned in the Aham River when their vehicle which could not climb the high hill, descended and crashed into the river, killing the two occupants before any help could come.

Corroborating their nasty experience, Hon. Julius Ogoke, the Palace Public Relations officer narrated how an Okada rider crashed and died on the very deadly bridge.

A near fatal accident occurred on the same bridge on the afternoon of Thursday August 27th when a truck with Registration No Lagos AGL 504 conveying crates of beer crashed into the same bridge. It was only through divine intervention that children who were swimming at the time cheated death by whiskers and were lucky as the truck hung on the base of the bridge.
Concurring to the views of Hon. Ogoke, Okenze Gerald Kekeocha and Nze Augustus Ibe observed that the leaders of the community are contemplating shutting down the bridge to heavy duty trucks and trailers to avoid the collapse of the bridge.
The duo posited that the community began the construction of the bridge in 1977 through communal efforts. They expressed worry at the present state of the bridge which is a smooth ride from Orieagu and Aguneze axis.

Investigation reveals that the construction of the bridge which was allegedly part of the design awarded under the defunct Ikedi Ohakim administration was abandoned by contractors after was ousted by former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

A road user, Dr. Bonaventuru Chukwu described the bridge as a flash point for criminal activities as hoodlums capitalize on the porous nature of the bridge to snatch cars kidnapp, rob and fleece commuters of cash and valuables.

It was observed that natives of Odenkwume Community embarked on remedial measures of dropping stones on the craters on both sides of the bridge. They also tried to rehabilitate the bridge with make-shift support of bamboo sticks with mixture of cement and chippings.

The leaders of the community made a compassionate appeal to the state government to quickly intervene before the bridge caves in.

Vehicular traffic on the rout increases daily as a result of the immotorable road networks at Ihitte-Uboma, Ehime-Mbano, Mbaise and Obowo as commuters divert through the road which is a smooth ride.

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