Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The federal government said that it would assist in every measure to ensure that the Nigeria Cement Company (NIGERCEM), which had been the pride of the Eastern region, was brought back to full production.
The Minister of Solid Mineral, Dr. Fayemi Kayode gave the assurance during his two-day working visit to Ebonyi state.
He assured of the Federal government’s total support for the state governor, Dave Umahi to revitalised the Cement Company (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Thisday gathered that NIGERCEM has been comatose since 2003 when it stopped production with over 200 workers of the company said to have died as result of non-payment of the salaries.
The state government last year signed deed of understanding with the Ibeto Group of companies to revive the ailing industry.
The Minister said: “I have been hearing of NIGERCEM Nkalagu when I was a little boy. There were two companies known all over Nigeria for cement production; Ewekoro and Nkalagu.
Nkalagu is where we are today and that is why we have to revive it and we thanked Ibeto and the Governor for coming together with the community and other stakeholders to support this effort to bring NIGERCEM back to life”.
â€œOn our part as the federal government, we are determined to see this company come back to production and we will provide all the necessary support for this to happen. We are happy that this is going to start very soon. We will make sure that this company is back and bigger than what it was before”.
â€œIt can recruit many of your children and I know that we have elderly pensioners who worked all their lives here in the NIGERCEM. We need to get our young men and women back to work and this is one of the vehicles to achieving job creation in this state and I know with God on our side, it shall be possible very soon. I know how passionate the Governor is about the development of his people. All he always wants to hear any time we meet in Abuja is what do my people need? He is committed to leave a foot print on the sands of timeâ€, he said.
Umahi expressed confidence that the company will return to its glorious day and commended the federal government for its support to revitalised the industry.
He disclosed that everything had been put in place by his administration including the construction of the road and bridges to ensure smooth revival of the cement factor.
â€œSome masqueraders have been coming that they want to invest in NIGERCEM. You donâ€™t invest in what that does not belong to you and you people are not greedy people, you are nice people. We are together with Ibeto and we are not looking backwards, and very soon, you will see construction work hereâ€, the told the host communities.â€
The Senator representing Ebonyi Central zone, Senator Obinna Ogba noted that the core investor, the Ibeto group of companies has the capacity to revive the company, adding that it would soon commence production.
He appealed to the host community to be patient, as the governor is not resting on his oars to ensure that the cement company is brought back to live.