Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi of Ebonyi has said the Nigeria Cement Company, NIGERCEM, Nkalagu, would soon commence production as the core investors, Ibeto Group, concludes plans to mobilise to site.
The governor spoke in Abakaliki, when he addressed stakeholders’ on the imperatives of giving priority to agricultural production.
NIGERCEM was the first cement plant in Nigeria, established in 1954, but was privatised in 2002 under the Olusegun Obasanjo regime.
Prior to its sale, it was jointly owned by the Federal Government which had 11 per cent, the five south-east states, 65 per cent, and the general public, 24 per cent.
The privatisation led to the emergence of Eastern Bulkcem Nigeria Limited as the new strategic core investor with a 65 per cent stake in NIGERCEM.
But for now, Ebonyi, the host community, has 10 per cent equity in the NIGERCEM.
Mr Umahi said the Ibeto Group, the new core investor, was fabricating machines that would enable them return to production of cement at NIGERCEM.
The governor also said other major cement manufacturers had indicated interest in the large deposits of limestone in the state.
He listed the cement companies as Lafarge and BUA.
The governor also stressed the need to embrace agriculture, adding that Nigeria plunged into recession because of great dependence on oil.
“If we don’t do things differently now, we may be heading for crisis, there may be nothing to leave for our children and generations to come; the oil we hoped and banked on is no longer fashionable.
“The only credible alternative that awaits us as a nation is agriculture and that is why this summit seeks to proffer solution on ways we can mechanise agriculture in the state,” Mr Umahi said.
He disclosed that his administration in line with its agricultural policy would partner with individuals or groups that want to go into mechanised agriculture by way of land preparation and other assistance to boost commercial agriculture.
He called on traditional rulers in the state to help in the area of land acquisition to enable the state have expanse of land suitable for mechanised agriculture.
The governor also urged them to encourage youths to engage in agriculture, stressing that there is need to fight crime through agriculture.