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Overturn Sale Of Risonpalm, Don Tells Wike

Nyesom Wike, PDP
Posted: May 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


Daniel Abia


A lecturer at the Ignatius Ajuru University in Rivers State has faulted the way the state-owned Risonpalm Mill at Ubima, hometown of former governor Rotimi Amaechi, was sold.

Dr. Williams Nzidee of the economics department of the university called on Governor Nyesom Wike to revisit the process of selling the multi-billion naira mill to a foreign firm, SIAT, by the Amaechi administration.

Nzidee, who had worked in the mill for 16 years as administrative manager expressed displeasure that between 1992 and 2005 when he left for academics, Risonpalm was “very viable and had the capacity to employ over 10,000 people. But today we have lost everything”.

In an interview with Independent on Saturday, Nzidee was of the view that, if revisited and taken over, Risonpalm would not only reposition the economy of the state now that the price of crude oil has dwindled and the federal allocation is nothing to write home about, “the mill will boost the state’s economy and increase local employment”.

Risonpalm has a lot of lucrative elements such as the Ubima estate with 10,000 hectares, oil palm estate at Elele with 6,000 hectares, the low palm project at Bori with 300 hectares and the 1,000 hectares of estate in Yenagoa, among others.

Shortly before the mill was sold to SIAT, scores of workers were laid off with some of them not paid their entitlement, which made them sue the administration of Amaechi to seek redress.

Initially, the European Union, according to Nzidee, had some shares in Risonpalm but when the former House of Representatives member, Hon. Andrew Unchendu, took over the headship of the mill, Rivers State government became the sole owner of the Mill.

”Risonpalm was in the stock market. It was competing favorably with other palm Mills across the country. Customers were coming from all parts of the country to patronise our products. I don’t understand why such a viable project could be sold out without the imput of the people of the state.

“As somebody that had worked at the top managerial level for 16 years, I want to call on the government of Nyesom Wike to revisit the sale of the mill and if possible take it back to create employment for our teeming youths,” Nzidee said.