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Bio-Fuel Ethanol Refinery

Lagos — Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti state has Saturday laid the foundation stone of a N3.5 billion, about ($23.4million) integrated cassava-based bio-fuel ethanol refinery in Ipao-Ekiti in Ikole Council Area of the state.

The refinery which is billed to be completed in 22 months, is to produce 30,000 metric tonnes of bio-fuel annually.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is to be managed under the Public Private Partnership Initiative (PPP)by FL Engineering Incorporated, a Chinese firm.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Segun Oni who commended the Chinese investors for choosing the state, expressed the hope that Ekiti State would soon be the headquarters of bio-fuel in Africa.

Oni noted that the project was one of the PPP initiatives of the government aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) for the rapid economic development of the state.

The Governor noted that the project would provide employment opportunities for scores of the indigenes of the state and boost the economic activities of the hosting communities.

While promising that the government would make available 15,000 hectares of land for the project, Oni also assured that the government would construct a dam and access road to the project site.

He said, "our focus is to make Ekiti State the headquarters of bio-energy in Africa with production from cassava ethanol and sorghum".

The governor sought the cooperation of the host community towards the success of the project and expressed the hope that "this project will make this community one of the most economic viable in Ekiti and Nigeria at large".

Also speaking, the President of the firm, Engineer Daniel Lee explained that the company would produce bio-fuel which would combine the production of petrol, diesel and jet fuel through ethanol from cassava.

Lee, who described the refinery as self-sufficient, said that the by-products from cassava would also be used to produce other products such as carbon dioxide, organic fertiliser and insecticides, among others.

The leader of the Chinese partner said that the refinery would commence production of bio-fuel in the next 22 months.

"Our hope is that within the next 22 months, this refinery which the foundation is being laid today would commence the production of bio-fuel thereby making Ekiti State one of the oil producing states in Nigeria.

"The refinery has the capacity of producing 30,000 metric tonnes of bio-fuel per annum with dependence on cassava ethanol as its raw materials and it will create over 1,000 jobs.

"We are going to combine this project into one so that can start the production of petrol, diesel and jet fuel and it is our dream to ensure that we make this dream a reality," he said.

Lee assured the governor that the company would do its best to ensure the success of the project.

"We will transport our technology from China to the state to improve on cassava farming and we need the support of the local people for this effort" Lee said.

Earlier the traditional ruler of the community, the Obanla of Ipao-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Aina assured the investors of the community's cooperation to ensure the successful operation of the refinery in the area.

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