By Dennis Agbo
ABAKALIKIâ€”Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi has disclosed that Nigeriaâ€™s Premier Cement factory, NIGERCEM, situated at Nkalagu in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state was now despoiled and beyond revival.
Governor Elechi made the disclosure while presenting the 2010 budget and appropriation bill before the State House of Assembly in Abakaliki, where he said that the present ugly state of the cement factory was due to the massive cannibalization of equipment and other infrastructure at the factory.
The Governor told the state lawmakers that the only option left for the state government was for it to continue with the setting up of an entirely new cement factory, since the state is endowed with excess limestone, a raw material for cement production.
The development is coming on the heels ofÂ the state governmentâ€™s revocation of the certificate of occupancy of the factory owned by Eastern Bulkcem Nigeria Limited, EBNL, the core investor that bought both the assets and liabilities of the factory in 2002.
The state government had set up a panel that has concluded its work on the modalities for the complete take-over of the factory by the state.
Whereas the panel is still waiting to officially handover its findings to the government, Governor Elechi at the State House of Assembly, said â€œinitially, a pip into the activities of the factory revealed that it had been massively cannibalized, whereupon, I applied to the Federal Government to be allowed to take over NIGERCEM.
Prolonged discussion with the federal authorities led to no conclusive decisions, when I was forced to revoke the right of occupancy of the investors on the land harboring the industry.
â€œI followed it up with the institution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the affairs of the enterprise from October 2002 to the present time.
The truth has now come, the factual situation in Nigercem is that it has been despoiled beyond revival. The looting of essential machine parts and equipment is total”, he added.