Ohakim Seeks Synergy with NNPC On Imo Greenfield Refinery

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, August 15, (THEWILL) - The Imo State Government is to go into a strategic partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to establish a Greenfield Refinery in the state.

Governor Ikedi Ohakim stated this weekend, when he led a high powered delegation from the state on a courtesy call on the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.

Ohakim noted that the state has the highest number of unemployed graduates in the country and opined that the establishment of the refinery would go a long way in boosting the state’s economy and bring federal government’s presence close to the people of Imo State.

"I have come here to see you on a single agenda and that is the Imo Refinery project. We want to resurrect this project and iron out modalities on how the state will partner with the corporation in establishing a Greenfield Refinery in Imo State. We want to eliminate any bottleneck or any likely bureaucracy that may come in the way of the proposed Refinery,’’ Ohakim submitted.

Ohakim stated that the refinery when established would provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state which has in the last 10 years recorded the highest number of university applicants in the country.

He argued that the attendant job creation would go a long way in reducing crime rate in the state.

Ohakim pledged to provide adequate security for all NNPC installations in the state and disclosed that already his administration has invested over N6bn on the security of lives and properties.

The Governor declared his total support for the deregulation policy of the Federal Government and urged the government to implement the policy without further delay while lamenting the over N500 billion reportedly spent on petroleum subsidy annually.

According to him, "I am an apostle of deregulation and the earlier the country deregulates the petroleum sector the better for all of us. Nigeria spends so much on petroleum subsidy and we cannot continue like that as a country."

In his welcome address, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Austen Oniwon commended the governor for pursuing the industrialization of the state and expressed the readiness of the corporation to partner with Imo State to establish a Greenfield Refinery.

Oniwon lauded the Imo State Government for providing security for NNPC pipelines in the state and implored the government not to relent in its effort to safeguard the lives and properties of the people of the state.

"I must note with every sense of gratitude that the rate of attack on NNPC facilities in Imo State has reduced and I wish to use this opportunity to commend Governor Ohakim for instilling peace and security," Oniwon said.