March 14, (THEWILL) – Ebonyi State is in Nigeria’s south-east region. It was created in 1996, carved out of both Enugu and Abia States with Abakaliki, the largest city, as the capital.
It is bordered by Benue State in the north and north-east, Enugu State to the west, Cross River State to the east and southeast, and Abia State to the south-west.
Ebonyi is primarily an agricultural state. It is a leading producer of rice and yam, predominantly cultivated in Edda. Other crops produced in the state include potatoes, maize, beans and cassava.
Geographically, the state is divided between the Cross-Niger transition forest in the far south and the drier Guinean forest–savanna mosaic in the rest of the state.
Ebonyi is known for its huge salt deposit at the Okposi and Uburu Salt Lakes, the reason it is called “The salt of the nation”. To actualise this, the Ebonyi State Government has given several incentives to investors in the agro-allied sector to encourage production.
The other important geographical features are the Cross River and its tributary, the River Aloma, which flow along Ebonyi’s southeastern and eastern borders, respectively, while fellow Cross River tributaries, the Abonyi (Aboine), Asu, and Eze Aku Rivers run through the state’s interior.
Abakaliki, is a centre of agricultural trade featuring such products as yams, cassava, rice, palm oil and palm kernels, as well as kolanuts. The state government promotes both poultry and egg production. The huge incentives and tax holiday offered by the government to all major private investors have brought about a marked increase in new businesses in Abakaliki city.
Some of the natives engage in wood craft such as carved doors, stools, walking sticks, traditional flutes, wooden mortars and pestles.
A recent report by the European-American Journal which investigated the impact of National Fadama III Development Project Financing on the socio-economic growth of Ebonyi State, revealed that one of the major problems confronting Nigeria today is how to improve the quality of life in the rural areas, reduce the level of poverty and contribute to economic growth.
It was discovered that counterpart contribution by the state government has significant effect on the socio-economic development of the state and that there is a long run correlation between counterpart contribution by local government areas in Ebonyi and the socio-economic development of the state.
“We concluded that introducing the principles of comparative advantage, by the provision of credit facilities to the comparative groups in Ebonyi State, only for those businesses that earned them the highest income, should be encouraged,” the report stated. The state government is investing massively on infrastructure on the premise that it has a far-reaching multiplier effect on the socio-economic advancement of the people.
Ebonyi is close to nature and tourist sites dot the area. They include the National Museum, Okposi Salt Lake, Abakaliki Green Lake, Abakaliki Greater Rice Husks, Slave Market at Ezza North/South, Mkpuma Ekwa Oku Rocks, Isinweze Water-falls, MacGregor Hill, Achiogba Water Falls, Ekoli-Edda, Ugwu Elom Onele,, Amanchor Cave and Etiti-Edda, Etiti-edda, The Golden Sand Beaches, Unwana and Ndibe Sand Beach, Historic Ancient Stone Mortar, Pottery Works, Oferekpe Beach, Noyo at Ekpelu Umuaka, Norwegian Water Reservoir at Amagu, Rocky Hills Formation in Amagu, Okpuitumo and Otagbara, Ogagbo Igbudu Beach at Ogagbo Igbudu.
Ebonyi has several solid mineral resources, such as local lead, zinc and limestone mining or quarrying. Others are crude oil and natural gas, as well as a few large-scale commercial mines.
Agricultural and Rural Development
Despite being one of the highest rice producing states in the country with four million metric tonnes, based on a record from the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Ebonyi farmers are lagging in. The state government has stepped up measures to boost rice production in line with the Federal Government plan to transform agriculture into Nigeria’s economic mainstay.
The government has launched the Africa Rice on Zero Hunger Project in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) scheme, for rice farmers and extension agents. According to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Moses Nomeh, the knowledge of good agronomic practices (GAP) is the most important foundation to productivity.
Nomeh has advised farmers in the state to pay attention to understanding the quality of what to produce to be competitive in the international market – starting from land preparation, transplanting, weeding, post-harvesting, packaging, storage and sale.
He observed that the state government had reached out to the farmers through input distribution every farming season and expressed optimism that the beneficiaries would have bountiful harvests to achieve food security in Ebonyi and the entire country. For a far-reaching effect, beneficiaries were selected from the six participating local government areas: Abakaliki, Ikwo, Ezza North, Ohaozara, Ohaukwu and Onicha.
The Ebonyi State Ring Road Project is one of the initiatives of the government to achieve a significant level of development in the state. The project aims to provide improved and sustainable access to economic opportunities and social services, and to enhance the capacity of relevant government institutions to deliver development targets and subsequently, to enhance the socio-economic development of the State. The government said it would support economic and social development programmes of Ebonyi State and Nigeria as a whole through efficient and cost-effective movement of passengers and freight, especially agricultural produce.
The Project intends to rehabilitate 177.81 km of existing bituminous roads, comprising the four sections of the Ebonyi State Ring Road. The road will also contribute to reduction of poverty through support to agricultural growth and mining, as well as fostering regional integration between Nigeria and Cameroon. The Ebonyi State Ring Road Project comprises: Civil works for the rehabilitation to bitumen standard of sections of the Ebonyi State Ring Road.
The direct beneficiaries of the Project are therefore road users including the farming, mining and industrial communities which the road serves as it provides them with ready access to markets. Such users would benefit from travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, and accident cost reduction savings.
Land Area: 2,136sqmi
Registered businesses: 184
Public primary schools: 1,140 circa
Public secondary schools: 230 circa
University (3): Federal – 1, state – 1, private – 1
Polytechnic (2): Federal -1, private -1
College of Agriculture: Federal – 1
Nursing School: State – 3
College of Health Technology: State – 2
College of Education (2): Federal -1, state -1
Technical School: Federal – 1
Total Revenue: N57.55bn @ 2020
Total Tax: N9.53bn @ 2020
IGR: N13.6bn @ 2020 (23.61% of total revenue)
FAAC: N44bn @ 2020 (76.39% of total revenue)
Domestic Debt: N44.21bn @ 2020
External Debt: $66m @ 2020
Unemployment rate: 25.1% @ 2020
NASENI, Ebonyi Sign MoU on Industrial, Agricultural Facilities
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Ebonyi State Government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of industrial clusters and agricultural facilities in the state.
Speaking during the ceremony in April 2021 in Abuja, the executive Vice-Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, said the partnership would see the establishment of the Industrial Machinery Equipment Development Institute (IMEDI), Uburu, in Ebonyi State, to carry out its engineering and infrastructural development in the state with the aim of providing employment for Nigerian youths, skill acquisition, training and technical know-how for upcoming engineers and scientists.
The NASENI boss said the technology and infrastructural development and transformation that were going on in Ebonyi is so amazing that one could not but partner with the state governor whom he described as a developer and one who touches the lives of an ordinary men and women.
“While it is our duty to carry out technology and infrastructural development in the states, Ebonyi State has shown us how to strategise and develop infrastructure. So we are also learning from them. We are happy to identify with such a state. What is happening in Ebonyi is a thing of joy and today we are partnering with them in order to solidify the efforts of the state governor.
“We are happy to associate and be part of the development that is going on in the state. The state has made giant strides. The establishment of the institute in the state will help to carry out developmental projects for job and wealth creation for the nation,” he added.
In his response, the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, said the state was committed to the agreement, noting that the Governor was happy with Prof Haruna as he is the type of professor Nigeria should produce.
According to Science Report, Umahi, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugballa, said Mohammed had demonstrated tremendous passion in national development, using science innovation and technology as strategy.
“Ebonyi State is committed to the MoU signed today. We don’t commit ourselves to what we cannot do. We will make sure that the vision which NASENI and Ebonyi State share together will thrive. Our government believes that work must be done to the best of our abilities and that we stand on,” he added.
In his vote of thanks, the Managing Director of the Scientific Equipment Development Institute (SEDI-Enugu), one of NASENI institutes, who is also the chairman of NASENI-Ebony State Joint Technical Committee, Dr. Samuel Ndubuisi, said the Ebonyi State governor had shown that he is dedicated to the technology and infrastructural development of the state.
In a similar development, the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority (NALDA) and the National Youth Service Corps on Wednesday partnered to develop 52 hectares of rice farm in Ebonyi State.
The partnership deal was sealed after the NALDA and NYSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to activate the 52 hectares land owned by the NYSC in Ezillo Ishielu Local Government Area of the state for a massive production of rice, which the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, signed on behalf of his organisation, while the Director-General, NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, signed for the corps.
According to Ikonne, with the NYSC’s youthful manpower, it was necessary for NALDA to tap into that resources to open up more hectares of farmland across the country, while NALDA provides the expertise in agribusiness to galvanise the youthful strength of the corps for productive ventures in agriculture that would make young graduates self-reliant, transformed into entrepreneurs, and also boost food security.
He also explained that rice is one of the commodities that NALDA has prioritised along with other agricultural commodities that will be embarked upon its, where he disclosed that Integrated Farm Estate would soon come on stream in partnership with the corps, which will make corps members go into food production and income generation.
He said: “NYSC has the foot soldiers and every year they churn them out, while NALDA has the land and the technical know-how. This understanding is for the manpower and the technical know-how to come together in order to produce the much needed job opportunity and food security that President Muhammadu Buhari has been advocating for the country.
“Nigeria is in dire need of creating job opportunities and this collaboration will contribute to the country’s GDP growth because when there are idle youths, you will have youth restiveness, but when they are engaged you wil see effectiveness. So our visit here today is to seal our understanding that we already have going forward.”
Challenging factors: Insecurity, communial clashes, poor road network, poor power supply, multiple taxes by revenue officials.
ENDOWMENT AND INVESTMENT OPPURTUNITIES
*** BY SAM DIALA & OLAYEMI SHABA