By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – The Federal Government has inaugurated a Cassava Processing Plant and a seven-unit of Staff Quartres in Afi Uda Community, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa-Ibom State.
Mr Stephen Kilebi, Deputy Director (Press), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement quoted the Minister Dr Usani Usani as saying that the mission of the Ministry was to promote sustainable development, peace and economic prosperity in the region.
Usani said “this can only be achieved with the promotion of an enabling environment for industrialisation, adding value to agricultural commodities, enhancing the capacities of farmers, generation of employment and increase farmers’ income and sustainable food security in the region”.
While inaugurating the Cassava Processing plant at Afi Uda Community, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom state, the Minister said “Nigeria is currently the highest producer of Cassava in the world”.
“The huge cassava production in the country may be wasted if not properly processed and utilised for economic prosperity.
“The establishment of Cassava Processing plant in Afi Uda community will add value to the Cassava production in Akwa-Ibom State,” he added.
Usani noted that the choice of Afi Uda community for the modern Cassava processing plant was in recognition of the people’s agrarian nature and the need to ensure that cassava was hygienically processed for both local and export consumption.
He urged the community to ensure effective use and maintenance of the facility.
According to him, the cassava processing plant at Afi Uda community has added to the number of such plants that were completed and handed over to various communities in the Niger Delta region by the Ministry.
Others he listed were Cassava Processing plant at Gbarantoru Ekpetiama-Epie community, Bayelsa State, Igbotako community, Ondo State, Bah Lueku Nyokalena community, Rivers State, Isiaku Afara-Ukwu community, Abia State.
“And Cassava Processing plant at Wanakom Cross River State, Ngor Okpala, Okwekenta community, Imo State and Mbutu Mbaise, Imo State.”
Usani said that the need to empower people economically necessitated the concept of establishing modern cassava processing plant cottage industries in the Niger Delta region.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Aliyu Aminu represented by the Director Community Development and Education, Mrs Lauren Braide said the project would add value to the people of the community and make them more economically viable.
Similarly, Usani also inaugurated a seven-unit Staff Quartres at the Community Secondary School, Ikot Uko, Odoro Ikot, Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa-Ibom State.
He said that the intention of the Ministry was in line with the present administration’s vision to revive every sector of the society, including education.
He added that the housing units would address the housing deficit faced by the staff of the school in the past and enhance punctuality of the teachers towards impacting quality knowledge to the students.
He noted that the students were the future of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general, hence the need for them to have quality education.
In their remarks, the leaders of both communities commended the Ministry and its management.
The Village Head, Afi Uda community, His Royal Highness, Clement Edet noted that the Ministry was the first federal ministry to come to the aid of the community with an empowerment project.
Edet said that the Ministry and its management have given Afi Uda a sense of being part of Nigeria.
He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to help the community to construct a five kilometers road to link Afi Uda with neighbouring communities to enable them benefit from the laudable project.
Also on behalf of the School and Ikot Uko community, the Principal of the Community Secondary School, Ikot Uko, Mr Etim Akpan said the project had introduced a great sense of beauty to the School community.
“The commissioning of the Staff Quartres for the School has shown the presence of the Federal Government in the School and in Ikot Uko community,” he said.(NAN)