The dispute between the management of the International Equitable Association (IEA), a premium soap and detergent manufacturer, and their host community, Umuokeyibe Umungasi, Aba, was settled on Wednesday by the governor of the state of Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu, opening the way for the industrial giants’ previously idle factory to resume production.
Governor Ikpeazu praised community members and their ancestors during a meeting between the feuding parties for their foresight in donating their land for the construction of the factory in 1952 as well as the peaceful negotiations that began in 2018 and resulted in the agreement to resolve all outstanding issues.
He directed the management of IEA to ensure that they abide by the terms of settlement including ensuring that youths of the community were gainfully employed at management and other levels within the organization.
“We are happy that our collective efforts to reinvigorate this company is yielding positive results and I am 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 the Governor for midwifing the settlement process and assured that the company was ready to resume production as soon as preliminary works were completed. He 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, thanked the Governor 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 by both parties.
IEA which commenced operations in 1954 manufactures popular detergent and soap brands such as Truck soap, Appolos detergent. Palmolive soap among others, before the ownership crises that led to the closure of the company in 2009.
The meeting which was held in Governor’s Lodge, Aba, was also attended by the state commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu and other top government officials.
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