By Chioma Onuegbu
IKOT ABASI- THE procrastination in commencing production at Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, located in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, has become a source of worry to youths of the area.
The youths, under the aegis of Ikot Abasi Clan Youth Leaders Forum, expressed fears that almost six months after Rusal, a Russian company and BFIG Company settled the controversy over the bid process out-of-court, nothing was happening at ALSCON.
The troubled youths had in February commended the Federal Government for intervening in the judicial combat that lasted for over four years, hopeful that full operations would commence shortly.
Order gas supply to ALSCON – Youth leader
Speaking to NDV last week, youth leader, Akparawa Mfreke Usoro of Edemeya Clan, while restating their appreciation to the Federal Government for resolving the matter between the two companies, urged it to look into the issues obstructing full operations at ALSCON, especially the non-supply of gas.
He said: “We, the youth of Ikot Abasi, urge the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to kindly instruct the agency in charge of gas to supply gas to ALSCON without further delay so that the company can commence production for the benefit of our community and Nigeria as a whole.
Operation’ll boost employment
His words: “We strongly believe that once full production commences at ALSCON, most Ikot Abasi youths that have been idle will be happy again because the company will create massive employment for the teeming youth and drastically reduce youth restiveness in our community.
“ALSCON is the only government presence in Ikot Abasi that used to add meaning to the lives festyle of the people before. That is why we are calling on the federal government to look into our plight and help to reduce our suffering by ensuring full production commences very soon at the company,” he added.
Usoro asserted: “We are in support of the Federal Government’s decision that RUSAL should manage the company. And we are hoping that our appeal will receive urgent attention because we know our President to be sensitive when it comes to the issue of community development.”
Also speaking, former youth leader of Ukpum Ette clan, Ikot Abasi, Mr. Ubong Essien, pleaded with the Federal Government to quickly intervene and avert another attempt by top management of BFIG to return the matter to the court.
Essien said: “Reliable information available to us is that Managing Director of BFIG is heading to court again. We are not happy about it. BFIG is trying to cripple the economy of Akwa Ibom State. We will not allow that to happen.
“To tell you the truth, the youths of Ikot Abasi and indeed, entire Akwa Ibom youths are very, very angry about what BFIG management is about to do. It has only succeeded in awakening our anger. We are also saying that we prefer RUSAL services, we do not want BFIG services,” he said.