WARRI—President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, performed the groundbreaking for the Export Processing Zone, EPZ, better known as the Gas City Project, in Ogidigben and the Deep Sea Port, Gbaramatu, both in Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State.
The ceremony at the Ugborodo community of Ogidigben witnessed robust participation by the Itsekiri and Gbaramatu leaders following mutual resolution of the tension over host status for the project between the Itsekiri and Ijaw in the area which earlier stalled the event.
President Jonathan, said: “I hereby approve this park as a free trade zone to attract as many investors as possible. I also accord it a full port status with all the priorities it deserves.”
He announced that a steering committee to be headed by Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, would be constituted to regularly brief the National Executive Council on the progress in the execution of the project to ensure that no stone was left unturned in ensuring its completion.
He thanked the Gbaramatu and Itsekiri leaders for ensuring the kick-off of the project, adding: “We will work with you to ensure that this project is completed to benefit not just us, but our children yet unborn.”
To the array of investors gearing to establish stakes in the Gas City Park, the President, said: “You will not be disappointed. Your investment will be protected and will yield the desired results.”
In a valuation of the project, the Petroleum Minister, Allison-Madueke, said: “From the construction phase, over 150,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by the project and many millions more will be created in the end.”
She said that the project was aimed at establishing Nigeria as the regional hub for gas and fertilizer production in Africa with investors from India, China, Romania and other nations already waiting to establish stakes.
Host, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, thanked President Jonathan for being patient with the host communities while the conflict over the contentious issues raged, saying, “We pledge to protect and provide enabling environment for this project.
“This project is moving forward and will be commissioned. I am a happy man, leaving office in less than three months and seeing to this groundbreaking take place at last.”
Present at the event were the Olu of Warri, the Regent of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, a.k.a Tompolo and Pa J.O.S. Ayomike, Chairman, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, among many others.
Meanwhile, Ijaw leader, Captain Beck Hitler has commended President Jonathan and Tompolo for the successful ground breaking of the EPZ.
Hitler, in a statement, also thanked the Itsekiris and Ijaws of Gbaramatu for embracing peace and for creating the enabling environment which enabled the President to flag off the $16billion Gas Revolution Industrial Park, in Ogidogben and Deep Sea Port, in Gbaratu.
He said that said the President really means well for the people of Delta State and the country, adding that the President has laid good foundation of a project that will create massive employments for Nigerian youths and graduates and the infrastructural and economic development of the host communities.