Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said his administration has taken deliberate steps to re-position the state as an agro-based industrial hub in the nation that specialises in rubber, cocoa and oil palm produce.
He stated this while planting the first rubber tree at Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, on Wednesday.
Obaseki disclosed that the motion to establish the rubber plantation was moved by his grandfather in 1952 and expressed his excitement in leading the re-development of the plantation.
He thanked the management of Rubber Estate Nigeria Limited for investing about N5.1billion in Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation as the move will create employment for the youths in the area.
The governor called on the company to partner with the community and enter into an agreement to donate more land for planting of rubber to create more agripreneurs.
“We are set to accelerate the economic growth of Orhionmwon Local Government Area, starting from the base, as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is introduced in all our primary schools to integrating them into the Edo-Best programme.”
He assured that more resources will be channeled into improving the healthcare system in the area while efforts will be made to accelerate the construction of roads in the council.
The governor assured the people that his administration will re-construct the old roads and open up the area for more economic activities, adding that the “the community people will be involved in the development of the area.”
He said his administration will ensure the security of life and property in the council by establishing a formidable police post soon, and added, “I am consulting with the Inspector General of Police to ensure this plan comes to reality.”
Obaseki assured those affected by the last storm in the area that the government will support them as arrangement is already on ground to address their issue and noted that efforts are being made to resolve the boundary dispute between Edo and Delta states.
“Urhonigbe technical school will be equipped and more teachers will be sent to the school,” he promised.
The Managing Director of Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited, Mr. Philippe Carty, expressed his delight at the occasion, and noted that the presence of the governor is a bold demonstration of his support for the development of Urhonigbe Community and his commitment to Agriculture in the state.
He said the planting operation will be in two phases as the first will cover 1,300 hectares while the second will cover 1,000 hectares.
“We will invest about N5.1 billion in Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation and a total of 350 workers will be employed in the plantation,” Carty said.
A community leader, Mr. Osaretin Peter, thanked the governor for the visit and expressed appreciation for his performance in the last 18 months.
He drew the attention of the governor to the court case and boundary dispute between Urhonigbe Community in Edo State and Umutu Community in Delta State, and urged him to intervene.