$16billion EPZ: FG Instructs Uduaghan, Alison-Madukwe, NNPC To Fix Groundbreaking Before May 29
BEVERLY HILLS, January 25, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has mandated the Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, as well as the Petroleum Minister, Mrs Alison Diezani Madukwe, to fix a new date for the groundbreaking ceremony of the $16billion Export Processing Zone (EPZ) proposed for Ogidigben, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State after the February elections.
The charge was given during the unscheduled meeting President Goodluck Jonathan had over the weekend with the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, alongside Governor Uduaghan and some Itsekiri traditional chiefs.
A statement issued on Sunday by Mr. Sunny Ogefere, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Uduaghan, said the President has directed the governor to liaise with all relevant authorities in the Presidency as well as Ministry of Petroleum Resources to fix a new date for the ground breaking.
The statement said that it would not be possible for the groundbreaking to take place before the February elections because investors have to be around for the ceremony, stressing that these were companies that have to be given enough notice.
Consequently, the President had mandated Governor Uduaghan to work closely with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidency to get a suitable date before May 29.
The statement also explained the reason why the groundbreaking was aborted late December by President Jonathan, saying the President explained that he had to put off the ceremony because of the fear of outbreak of violence after the ceremony which, according to him, would have frightened investors.
According to him, his action in putting off the exercise was not borne out of fear that anything was going to happen to him, noting that as a son of the Niger – Delta, he could move freely in the zone without molestation.
Meanwhile, Governor Uduaghan has commended President Jonathan for taking time to explain to the Olu of Warri and the entire Itsekiri nation the circumstances leading to the cancellation of the earlier scheduled groundbreaking ceremony.
He also expressed appreciation to the Olu for his understanding of the President's explanation and commitment to the project, saying “We join Mr. President in our commitment to the success of the project.”
The governor however appealed to groups and individuals with interest in the project to desist from politicising the ground breaking ceremony.