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Claims By Akwa Ibom Govt to Establishing Rice Mill, Producing Rice, Fake – Findings

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The claims by Akwa Ibom State Government to have established a Rice Mill and mass producing rice for the state have turned out to be a wool over the people’s eyes.
This is as findings revealed that the rice mill and producing rice from the said mill as painted by the state government are non-existence.
The state government recently said it has established a world-class Rice Processing Mill located in Ini Local Government Area of the state.
The state government also claimed that 10,000 bags of 50 kilograms of the rice from the mill have so far been made available at affordable price in the market.
However, investigations revealed that the claims by the state government turned out to be lies as the facility is only used for the purpose of rebagging rice purchased from other states of the federation
The facility located in the sleepy community of Odoro Ikpe was not in use the number of times this correspondent visited the site, spanning a week and three days.
For the ten days of investigation, the purported mill was under locks and keys. Only a lone security guard – an aged man was seen on the third day of visit.
An indigene of the community who gave his name as Elijah Ubong Okon corroborated our findings.
He disclosed that barely a month ago, a truck load of rice offloaded the products which were later repackaged and labelled as “Family Rice.”
He accused the state government of reneging on its agreement of creating employment opportunities for indigenes.
“I also saw on social media that the state government is producing rice, you are here now, what have you seen? The only rice I have seen here was the one brought by truck from the north (Kebbi State). Rice processing is not done here, quote me. The government promised to create jobs for us (indigenes) in the mill but I can say that we have been deceived”, he stated.
“Does that place you are coming from look like a place anything serious can be done?
,”How many bags of rice can be processed there even in 6 months?
“Is there even a storage facility that can warehouse processed rice?”, a resident?,”‘.Elijah Ubong Okon asked.
Another indigene, Edet Umosen accused the Akwa Ibom State Government of marginalizing Ini Local Government Area, and offered insight into the project.
“This project was supposed to be a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, now we don’t know the private company which the state government is partnering with. We don’t know the output of the mill. To be frank, nothing is happening there. Thank God you have gone there to see things for yourselves”, he stated.
“The road leading to the mill and rice farm at Mbiabet Ikpe is in deplorable condition. Contractors handling the project, Ashdene Construction Company, has failed to deliver. Our vehicle severally got stuck in mud enroute the factory and rice farm.”
At the Mbiabet Ikpe rice farm, farmers who pleaded anonymity alleged that the farms belong to them, not the state government.
According to them, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr. Uduak Udoinyang, has not secured grants for them (farmers) as promised.
They emphatically declared that the rice on their respective farms are privately cultivated, harvested and sold at local markets in Ini, Ikot Ekpene and the environs.
At the rice farm at Ogu in Itu Mbonusoh, similar claims were made by the farmers.
With Governor Udom Emmanuel announcing recently that the mill and have boosted food sufficiency in Akwa Ibom State, the reverse was discovered to be the case..
Efforts to get the reaction from the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr. Uduak Udoinyang, were futile as he neither picked calls nor replied messages sent to his phone.

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