By Matthias Nwogu Umuahia –
Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has said that the Abia targets about one million jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state from the proposed free trade zone near Aba.
The governor stated this at an interactive forum with stakeholders from Ukwa East and West and Ugwunagbo Local Government Areas where the trade zone would be located.
Governor Ikpeazu who explained that governance is about creating better life for the people, noted that land is supposed to be put into good use to impact positively generations to come, hence, the need to accept the project by the communities.
He said the project which would be financed by local and international investors is located 30 minutes away from two seaports at Onne and Abonima making it easy for the investors to access their goods, adding that no other location has as much appeal and economic viability.
While urging the communities to as a matter of importance own the project by participating from start to finish, the Governor revealed that the trade zone when ready will have uninterrupted power supply.
“I think we need to think strategically, we need to think about tomorrow, on the need to plant a seed that will germinate tomorrow”, he said.
Dr Ikpeazu highlighted that the land owners as well as the communities would be adequately compensated, while their percentages would be managed by any bank of their choice.
The commissioner for Lands, Survey and Physical Planning, Uche Ihediwa, in his speech said the importance of a Free Trade Zone cannot be over emphasized as it has reversed the economic fortune of Dubai.
Ihediwa revealed that sensitization exercise which had over 3000 persons in attendance from the three local governments spanned over four months.
He explained that the project would introduce a paradigm shift from the old way of land acquisition, noting that the land owners won’t be neglected.
The lands commissioner described electricity, and bad road network, as some of the challenges confronting the communities.
The monarchs from the three communities, Eze Ibeabuchi Ekeke, Eze Godwin Ukanna and Eze Moses Ugochukwu Eze on behalf of their people appreciated the governor and the state government for such a gigantic project and prayed him to ensure speedy completion.