The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, has called for cooperation from the people of Ibikpe, Ikpa and Ikot Oku Villages in Uruan Local Government Area, to fast track the establishment of the proposed 50,000 BPD Modular Refinery in the area.
The Speaker gave the charge on Tuesday, at the Public Forum/Scooping Workshop on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed Refinery, organised by the Rhema COG Energy Development Limited with the Federal Ministry of Environment, held at Emrosy Hotel, Uyo.
Continuing, the Speaker, represented by his Press Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Effiong, vowed to apply all constitutional means to ensure that all statutory benefits that should accrue to the host communities are fulfilled by the company, when fully operational.
He said the Refinery when established, will boost the industrialization policy of Governor Udom Emmanuel and appealed for cooperation from the host villages, to ensure prompt completion of the project, which he said will create more jobs, not only for Uruan people but the entire Akwa Ibom indigenes.
“We have heard of crisis in other places over initiatives like this. Since this company is coming to Uruan, I will do everything within my powers and constitutional means, to ensure that you get all the benefits that should accrue to the host communities and Uruan as a whole.”
On his part, the representative of the Commissioner for Environment, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Paul Okon, said the company will be subjected to strict checks to ensure that all agreements and standards are adhered to.
He, however, called for a mutual understanding between the Rhema COG Energy Development Limited and the host villages, to avoid unnecessary delays in the establishment of the proposed refinery.
Similarly, the Minister for Environment, represented by Mrs Uduak John, said the Federal Government will ensure the Refinery is set up in line with relevant legislation, saying that consultations, field analysis, impact evaluation/mitigation and other necessary processes will be thoroughly followed.
Also speaking, the Advisor on Safety, Health and Environment, for Rhema COG Energy Development Limited, Mr Raphael Tom who stood in for the Chairman, said the company is committed to the safety of the community, adding the firm will mitigate all environmental impacts caused by its activities.
He assured that the firm will not only adhere to its operating principles but will also fulfil its corporate social responsibilities and therefore appealed for cooperation from the villages and other stakeholders.
Some of the participants who spoke during the interactive session called for proper safety awareness before the establishment of the proposed refinery.
The event was graced by the Chairman of Uruan Local Government Council, Hon. Henry Udofia, represented by his Vice, Hon. Bassey Bassey, Royal Fathers, Elders, women and the youths of Uruan.