Akwa Ibom State governor, Umo Eno has solicited the federal government’s support to revive the state’s moribund oil palm industry.
He disclosed this to State House correspondents on Wednesday after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential.
The country currently buys in more than $500 million worth of palm oil every year.
Governor Eno outlined plans to resuscitate the sector that has lain dormant for nearly three decades, as part of efforts to diversify the state’s economy.
He requested the backing of the Tinubu administration for the initiative.
He said “ we also have a request. We’ve talked and requested him to support us with our Ibom deep support, and agricultural programme on the oil pan. Akwa Ibom is an oil palm zone.
“And we have started the process of revamping the moribund industry that has laid there for 28 years. It is being revamped right now. We need the support of the federal government to be able to have a full value chain and then bring people to work and be able to help Nigeria.
We can even get to exporting palm oil, because right now, we’re still importing a lot of it. So that’s why I came and it was a good visit.
Eno said his visit was to wish the President a happy new year and discuss issues of importance to the state.
Topping the agenda was a request for federal backing of the Ibom Deep Seaport project, which the state sees as crucial to reviving the moribund oil palm industry
The proposed seaport is expected to relieve congestion at existing ports like Lagos and serve the South South region.
Governor Eno stated that it will have the deepest wharf in the country, allowing large ships to dock.
Other major state projects discussed include the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Victor Attah International Airport and expansion of Ibom Air operations.
Eno assured the President that Ibom Air is profitable, ploughing earnings back into growth.
According to Eno, President Tinubu directed that a memo detailing the requests be presented.
He described the meeting as a “normal briefing” to update the President on the state’s status as part of Nigeria.