By ENYIM ENYIM, GODWIN ORITSE AND VINCENT UJUMADU
ONITSHA— ANAMBRA State, yesterday, joined other oil producing states following the official commissioning of the Orient Petroleum Refinery, OPR, built by the Anambra State Government.
The refinery initiated by the Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration which also constituted its Board of Directors led by former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, is located in Aguleri-Otu, Anambra East Council area of the State.
Oil was first struck in the location about 45 years ago by the multinational company, SAFRAP, now Total Plc. OPR which will soon start full scale refining at the commissioning of the refinery section in a few months time is a 55,000 bpd.
Lauds Anambra govt
The President commended the Anambra State Government for initiating the project and seeing it to completion in spite of the numerous hiccups encountered at inception.
The President thereafter left for Onitsha, Anambra’s commercial centre where his private jet marked NAF541 touched the lawn of the Federal Inland Water Ways, in the city.
While commissioning the Onitsha River Port, President Jonathan said the N4.6 billion River Port was unique and a signal for more things to come; stressing that his administration decided to embark on the development of the country’s inland waterways transport as a way of exploiting all avenues of enhancing both road, rail, air and water transportation in the country.
Jonathan said: “The river or marine transport must be enhanced and to do it, we need inland port like the one in Onitsha. Our target is to link all the ports by roads and rail so that doing business in Nigeria becomes easy. The river ports must be linked up to other areas of resource. Today, the process is being started and others on the drawing board must be completed.”
He expressed hope that well developed inland water transportation system would lessen the burden on our highways which often wear away because of the large cargo plying the roads.
The President used the occasion to assure Nigerians that he would deliver on his electoral promises and urged Nigerians to exercise patience and keep faith.
He commended Inter Bau, the local contractor that executed the project.
…as Ngige, Soludo hail Anambra’s oil status
BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA—FORMER Anambra State governor, Senator Chris Ngige and former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Charles Soludo have expressed delight in the take off of crude oil production facility in Anambra State, describing it as a blessing to the people.
In separate interviews at Aguleri Otu in Anambra East Local Government Area, they said every Anambra indigene would remember the day as it would ultimately translate to enhanced revenue for the state.
Ngige said: “This is a mile stone in the annals of our dear Anambra State because at last, our state has officially been confirmed as an oil producing state. While I was here as governor, my administration invited investors from far and wide when we made public the shares of Orient Petroleum and it was chaired by Chief Emeka Anyaoku at Tourist Garden Hotel Awka. On that day we made a draft of N100 million and promised to make available substantial amount of money when all the paper works had been concluded.
Similarly, the former CBN governor said that with Orient Petroleum, the state was going through transformation in the area of economic and social development.
According to him, “I call it wonderful. It is a great day for Anambra State and the beginning of a long journey towards transformation of our state. Oil can be a blessing and can also be a course. But let it be only a blessing to our dear state. Anambra should utilize such great achievement effectively such that in the next six to eight years, it will not need a kobo from outside to run the recurrent expenditure of the state.”
He also prayed that the production of oil would create a friendly environment in the state and urged those involved in the venture to see it as a challenge in improving the economic status of the state from what it is at present, to higher level.