Abia chief executive, Okezie Ikpeazu, has resolved the misunderstanding between the management of premium soap and detergent manufacturers, International Equitable Association (IEA) and its host community of Umuokeyibe Umungasi in Aba, which led to closure of the company for 13 years.
The peace deal brokered by the Abia chief executive has paved the way for the blue-chip company to resume production after it closed business activities in 2009 and asked its workers to stay out of the factory.
During a meeting between the feuding parties, Ikpeazu, applauded the community and their forebears for their foresightedness in donating their land to the International Equitable Association in 1952 for the establishment of the factory.
He was particularly happy that a peace deal and negotiations to resolve the matter came on stream in 2018 and led to the agreement to settle all the lingering issues. He therefore directed the management of IEA to ensure that it abides by the terms of settlement of the deal.
The said, includes employment of the youths of the community at the management and other levels in the organization.
“We’re happy that our collective efforts to reinvigorate this company is yielding positive results and I’m optimistic that production activities will soon start again at the factory which is one of the landmark organizations that made Aba an industrial hub”, the governor said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of IEA, Mr Sola Ajayi, expressed appreciation to Governor Ikpeazu for brokering peace and assured that the company would soon resume production as soon as preliminary works were completed.
Ajayi also thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise to fix Nicholas Road, Aba, which leads to the factory and pledged the willingness of the company to be good corporate citizens.
Also speaking, the spokesman of the community, Prince Enyinnaya Ubani and the chairman of the community, Mr Chris Ubani, expressed appreciation to Ikpeazu for his developmental strides in the state as well as the pursuit of industrialization as a major pillar of his administration.
They pledged to abide by the agreement reached at the peace parley.
It will be recalled that the IEA which commenced operations in 1954, manufactures popular detergent and soap brands such as Truck Soap, Appolos Detergent, Palmolive Soap among others, was one of the industrial giants in Aba until ownership crises led to its closure in 2009.
The peace parley was held in Governor’s Lodge, Aba and was also attended by the Abia State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu and other top government officials.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.