By IJENDU IHEAKA
ABA- Gov Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, has directed the management of International Equitable Association (IEA) to ensure youths of its host community, Umuokeyibe Umungasi, Aba, are given employment.
This directive is contained in a statement signed by Abia Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief Okiyi Kalu and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
Ikpeazu gave the directive during a meeting to settle a long standing rift between the company and their host community in Aba on Wednesday.
The governor urged the company to abide by terms of the settlement which included ensuring that youths of the community were employed at management and other levels within the organization.
Ikpeazu’s intervention and settlement of the rift has paved the way for the resumption of production at the hitherto moribund factory of the industrial giants.
The governor at the meeting, applauded members of the community and their forebears for their foresight in donating their land in 1952 for the establishment of the factory.
He also thanked them for peaceful renegotiations which started in 2018 and led to the agreement to settle all the lingering issues in June 2022.
“We are happy that our collective efforts to reinvigorate this company is yielding positive results and I am optimistic that production activities will soon start again at the factory which is one of the landmark organizations that made Aba an industrial hub,” Ikpeazu said.
Mr Sola Ajayi, the Managing Director of IEA, expressed appreciation to the governor for midwifing the settlement process.
He assured that the company was ready to resume production as soon as preliminary works were completed.
He also thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise to fix Nicholas Road, Aba, which leads to the factory and pledged the company’s willingness to be a good corporate citizen.
Mr Chris Ubani, the Chairman of the Community and Mr Enyinnaya Ubani, their spokesman, thanked Ikpeazu for his development strides and pursuit of industrialization in Abia.
They pledged to abide by the terms of the agreement reached by both parties.
NAN reports that IEA commenced operations in 1954, manufacturing popular detergents and soap brands before the ownership crises that led to its closure in 2009.
The meeting, held in Governor’s Lodge, Aba, had in attendance the Trade and Investment commissioner, Chief John Okiyi Kalu and other top government officials.(NAN)