Resuscitated Adapalm to generate over 2,500 jobs this year – GM

Mr Reginald Okereke, the General Manager, Roche West Africa Ltd., owners of the old Adapalm Nig. Ltd., Ohaji, says the company had the capacity to generate no fewer than 2,500 direct jobs by the end of this year.Okereke said this on Friday during a guided media tour of projects initiated by Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo.He said that the company would soon go into full production, having successfully completed the test-running of the newly installed state-of-the-art milling equipment.

He said that the state government had procured and donated 140,000 palm seedlings to the company, through the Ministry of Agriculture.The seedlings would be planted on 1,000 hectares on the plantation, which covers more than 4,000 hectares, he added.Okereke said that felling of the old and unyielding palm trees and preparing the land for planting of the seedling were ongoing.“Before the company took over the plantation, the ministry had started planting seedlings on 200 hectares before it was invaded by suspected herdsmen,” he said.According to him, the takeover of the plantation was delayed by the “absence of an enabling environment”, brought about by agitations from the host communities.Okereke said that the people were initially reluctant to allow the company to come in “because of their previous experience.“

It took Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s initiative for a tripartite ownership structure, involving the state government, company and community to restore the people’s confidence,” he said.He said that the company had carried out 100 per cent overhaul of the facilities and equipment on the estate, including the renovation of the administrative block.The plantation had six villages, with about 200 houses that were at different stages of dilapidation, he said.

The general manager said that adequate security arrangements had been made for the protection of lives and property in the place.He added: “Now, we have embarked on some measures, including building 12ft high and 12ft deep trenches around the plantation to further fortify the area.“We also have 50 Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, plus Army personnel deployed to provide 24-hour security here.”The Commissioner for Information, Mr Declan Emelumba, who led the tour, said that the 35-km road leading to the facility had been awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The media team was also conducted round the new hostel blocks being built by the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo.Others were some internal roads described as strategic to ease traffic in Owerri metropolis. (NAN)