From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Abia State Government has said its modular refinery being built at the Abia Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP), Owaza, in Ukwa West LGA would begin production in 2025.

The Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, who disclosed this in Umuahia, said it was a project that is important to the Alex Otti-led government and every effort is being put to ensure that the dateline would be met.

“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.”

Kanu said that the state government was making efforts to reap from the huge opportunities provided by the petroleum and mineral resources endowment in the state, adding that, “in this regard, a lot of investors are jostling to come and invest in Abia State.”

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The Commissioner for Petroleum, Professor Joel Ogbonna, said the government was in a hurry to bring transformation through the establishment of the industrial innovation park.

“About 2000 hectres have been acquired in Owaza. Before now, many of us didn’t know that we had oil and gas in Abia State. 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.”

On the reported extortion of motorists and other touting activities in Aba and its environs, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, said Governor Otti has issued a directive, instructing the Special Adviser on security to apprehend the hoodlums who are indulging in any form of extortion in Aba

“When the Governor came on board, he gave a directive stopping all collection of illegal revenues and levies and all the rest of them, but in the last few days, there have been reports of extortion in the name of loading fee.

“So, it’s important I bring it to your attention that the Governor has instructed that those involved be arrested,” he said.