» Materials for September 2013 year » Page 2


Contributing to the host Community

Author: smith on 22-09-2013, 14:00, views: 6 247


The Township provides needed housing for the employeesThe Township provides needed housing for the employeesMr. Peter Waschka, ALSCON's General Manager, noted that 'as well as meeting the various FEPA requirements, the company will always be interested in the general development and well being of the local community'.


To many Ikot Abasi people, the saying 'once a person has put on loin cloth, he does not go nude again', holds true. The town which saw the opulence of slave

trade, that of the oil palm trade and the civilising influence of Christian missionaries in the 18th and the 19th centuries, cannot but embrace the commercial and industrial activities of the 20th century.


Elder Okpoho Ekpo, ALSCON's Assistant General Manager (Administration) and a native of Ikot Abasi, gives ALSCON a high score for the positive contribution the company has made so far in the lives of his people:

As a major industrial establishment, the Aluminium Smelter Plant is bound to have a tremendous impact on the physical and socio-economic development of Ikot Abasi. The site of the plant which was, until the commencement of construction work, swampy and marshy, has been transformed into habitable environment with modern architectural structures and roads'.


Category: The Ikot Abasi Smelter


Aluminium - the Wonder Metal

Author: smith on 21-09-2013, 23:00, views: 6 939


The ALSCON Project was successfully implemented during the administration

of General Sani Abacha GCON, Head of State and Commander in Chief

of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


The ALSCON Project was successfully implemented during the administrationThe ALSCON Project was successfully implemented during the administration



As an aircraft circled for descent at the Port Harcourt International Airport, 70 km South West of Ikot Abasi, numerous gas flares glowed against the night sky in the horizon. The scene arrested the attention of two passengers visiting the country for the first time.

'That is wealth being burnt away', one said.

'It is', confirmed the other.

The thought of putting a part of the gas to a more productive use set their minds ablaze. This was way back in the 1970's.


Category: Modern industrialisation: The Ikot Abasi aluminium


A Modern Metal

Author: smith on 21-09-2013, 22:00, views: 5 172


On a site inpection in September 1993: (left) A.V.M. Nura Iman (rtd.), former ALSCON Chairman and Minister of Power and Steel; Arnulf Lokenhoff; Chief Don Etiebet; Alh. Hassan Adamu (Waklin Adamawa); and Peter Waschka, General Manager of ALSCONOn a site inpection in September 1993: (left) A.V.M. Nura Iman (rtd.), former ALSCON Chairman and Minister of Power and Steel; Arnulf Lokenhoff; Chief Don Etiebet; Alh. Hassan Adamu (Waklin Adamawa); and Peter Waschka, General Manager of ALSCONThe first few particles of aluminium were produced only ca. 170 years ago and the commercial production started 50 years later with the development of the Hall-Heroult process. This reduced dramatically the unit cost and brought aluminium within the reach of the general populace.


Considered a jewellery-grade metal in Napoleonian times, aluminium soon became a household word. With the advent of the aeroplane, it's lightness and strength-to-weight ratio made it ideal for production of motors and structural elements. Today, aluminium is the ideal material for all forms of aerial and space transport and its extensive use in construction and manufacturing of cars and trucks, make it clearly the wonder metal of the century.

Category: Modern industrialisation: The Ikot Abasi aluminium


Making of Aluminium

Author: smith on 21-09-2013, 21:00, views: 7 513


ALSCONALSCONCommercial production of aluminium for over 100 years largely commenced with the mining of bauxite, an impure form of aluminium oxide which constitutes approximately 16% of the earth's crust. Bauxite contains significant quantities of iron oxide, silicon and other impurities generally has a reddish-brown appearance and is found in large quantities in most tropical regions of the world. It typically occurs as blanket deposits, at or near the earth's surface and is formed by the cyclical (wet-dry-wet, etc.) weathering of aluminium oxide bearing ores.


Major deposits are found today in Brazil, West Africa, Australia and Malaysia and for the most part, the crude bauxite is mined and shipped to other locations where it is refined using the Bayer Process to the purer aluminium oxide, called alumina.


Transforming alumina to aluminium metal requires significant quantities of electrical energy, and this conversion is carried out in large carbon lined vessels or electrolytic cells. Using the same principles as developed by Hall and Heroult in 1876, this process reduces the metal oxide to a molten metal. By dissolving the alumina in a bath or melt of cryolite (Sodium aluminium flouride) at 960 hC and using a consumable carbon anode, the oxygen component combines to form carbon dioxide and the aluminium left behind forms in a molten pool in the bottom of the electrolytic cell or vpot', as it is sometimes called. The metal is periodically siphoned off and cast into one of the many ingot or product forms as required by the customer or downstream process.


Category: Modern industrialisation: The Ikot Abasi aluminium


The Establishment and Early Growth of a Colonial Town - 1917

Author: smith on 20-09-2013, 23:00, views: 12 001


NOTE: The boundaries shown on this map are not necessarily accurate.NOTE: The boundaries shown on this map are not necessarily accurate.At the turn of the 19th century, Ikot Abasi, then known as Egwanga, was a small village: a trading post of the Ibekwe clan frequented by Opobo (Umani) traders, and a landing place for the trade at markets up the Imo River and in the Ibibio and Anaang hinterland. It was certainly, less important than Essene situated a little distance away. Essene had been a large, populous entrepot since the days of the slave trade, and, not surprisingly, Britain established a Native Council Court at Essene Market in 1902 to serve the entire Ibibio and Anaang areas. Further evidence of the comparative insignificance of Ikot Abasi comes from the British Consul, Roger Casement, who traversed the back country up to Ikot Osong on the Qua Iboe River in May 1894. Whereas Casement took only passing note of Ikot Abasi in describing the journey, he detailed his experiences at prominent villages like Essene, Minya, Ibekwe Akpan Nya, Efa, and Mbioto II (Casement, 1894).


Within a decade of Casement's excursion, however, a fortuitous and dramatic change occurred in the fortunes of Ikot Abasi. This, as already indicated in chapter four, was the transfer in 1902 of the British Consulate - the seat of British colonial power and imperial expansion in this region - from Norah Beach to Ikot Abasi considered a much better (location) from the health and land point of view (Cheesman, 1932 A).

According to one narrative:

A Mess with four quarters was erected. An Assistant District Commissioner, Medical Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Treasurer formed the station. Essene still continued to be the one Court. The Customs remained at Norah Beach. Government bought the land from the Ikot Abasi Chiefs (Ikpa Clan) (Cheesman, 1932 A).


Thus, Ikot Abasi became the headquarters of what, for the next half century, was known as Opobo District (or Division); while the town itself was variously called Egwanga, Egwanga - Opobo or Opobo Township, to distinguish it from Opobo Town (or Opobo Island) of the Umani people.


Category: Urbanisation of Ikot Abasi


The Town Population

Author: smith on 20-09-2013, 22:00, views: 13 775


The brick Judge's Bungalow on Consulate Road, Ikot AbasiThe brick Judge's Bungalow on Consulate Road, Ikot AbasiA much more fundamental impact was the agglomeration of population at Ikot Abasi, heterogeneous in nationality and ethnicity, and varied in culture, skills and standards of living. Coopers brought from Accra in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), engineers recruited from Sierra Leone, and Kru boys from Liberia recruited as stevedores and deck hands, met and mingled at Ikot Abasi or its environs, although these migrants tended to live in clusters by nationality. One of the most notable migrants was J. E. Tekeyi-Mensah, a company's shopkeeper from the Gold Coast (Epelle, 1970), who settled close by the European Reservation at the rear of G. L. Gaiser and Company's Factory. A village of other aliens and residents, eventually known as Mensah Town, soon formed round him. Significantly, Tekeyi-Mensah himself applied to the Township Advisory Board in October 1912 for land in the Reservation, but, as would be expected, the Board resolved:

... that this application be not granted, since by granting land to one Native there would then be a case of precedent for others. The ground (would) no longer be a European Reservation (Minutes, 1906-1929)


In the end, in October 1920, Tekeyi-Mensah, now a prominent trader, leased a plot of land at Mensah Town from the chiefs of Ikot Abasi on behalf of A. Mensah Brother and Co. Traders of Mensah Town (Leases, Opobo Division).


To the so-called non-native foreigners like Tekeyi-Mensah, were added native foreigners - the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba who visited, or settled at Ikot Abasi for trade, or were engaged as artisans or contractors (Cheesman, 1932 A). They too tended to settle in ethnic clusters, close by the Township where, through their elected headmen and ethnic associations, they could better cater for the well-being of their members.

Another important element of the town's population comprised Native Africans from the Division and neighbouring regions. They included the Ibibio, Anaang, Obolo (Andoni), Ogoni and Umani (Opobo Town). They visited for trade at the main Public Market, or at the European beaches, or they came to attend the Government Native Hospital - the only hospital for Africans in the Division up to 1960.


Category: Urbanisation of Ikot Abasi


Ikot Abasi: From Second Class to Third Class Township, 1917-1950

Author: smith on 20-09-2013, 21:00, views: 11 637


PWD buildings along Consulate RoadPWD buildings along Consulate RoadThe Township Ordinance of 1917 made more explicit the instruments of township administration. It classified Nigerian towns into First, Second, and Third Class. Lagos was the only First Class Township with an autonomous town council; eight towns were Second, and 42 were Third class (Nwaka, 1976 A: 37; Lugard, 1970: 407). Ikot Abasi, as already indicated, was Second Class, to be administered by a Local Authority (the District or Assistant District Officer), and an appointed Township Advisory Board. This comprised, as in the previous Reservation Board, official members, who were colonial officials, and unofficial members, who were representatives of the European firms (Nwaka, 1976 A: 37), Thus, the new Advisory Board which met on January 28, 1918, comprised R. B. Brooks (District Officer) as Local Authority; E. H. Tipper, the Senior Medical Officer; J. W. Park, Agent of Miller Brothers Ltd; J. B. Bryson, Agent of Mclver Ltd; and T. E. Gooch, Agent of the African Association Ltd (Minutes, 1906-1929). All the members, excepting Brooks, had previously served on the Reservation Board. The Township Ordinance also explicitly stated the various sources of revenue of Second Class Townships. These sources were to be reflected in the town's Annual Budget, drawn up by the Advisory Board. They were vehicle, dog, slaughter house and drumming licences; conservancy charges; market dues; pound fees; and government grant-in-aid (Township, Opobo Division).


European firms, accustomed to contribute to European Reservation Funds under previous Ordinances, were to be called upon to contribute under the new Ordinance. Construction and maintenance of roads were taken over by the colonial government's Public Works Department (PWD); while conservancy and sanitary works were to be provided for in the Government Estimates (Minutes, 1906 to 1929).


According to the township rules, everybody had to carry a lighted lamp when moving beyond the precincts of his own tenement between 8.00 p.m. and 530 a.m. Letters were read complaining that a certain dog, the property of Mr. Jumbo, is in the habit of attacking Motor Cyclists. The owner has been informed that if this dog is found on the main road, it will be destroyed.(Minutes of the Opobo Township Advisory Board meeting, 19th November, 1920)


Category: Urbanisation of Ikot Abasi


The Decline of Ikot Abasi Township, 1950-1990

Author: smith on 20-09-2013, 20:00, views: 13 753


Pentacle Nigeria Limited, the only purified vegetable oil plant in the State. Source: Obong 0. D. EtukafiaPentacle Nigeria Limited, the only purified vegetable oil plant in the State. Source: Obong 0. D. Etukafia[quote]A further jolt to Ikot Abasi Township occurred about January 1953, when the greater part of the installations of UAC, the dominant firm, were devastated in a single rainstorm, which also caused great destruction throughout the Division. The ruin was not salvaged and the company dwindled on, till it folded up in the early 1960's (Udoessien, 1987: 9). As UAC did the major business at Ikot Abasi, employed many workers and had links with other companies, its collapse was a major calamity to the Township (ibid.).


The serious decline of Ikot Abasi continued through the 1950's and early 1960's, fuelled by various factors. These included the appalling state of the roads leading to the town, particularly the Ikot Abasi-Aba road, which was often closed to lorries at the Ikot Abasi end during the rainy season, due to muddiness; the easy adulteration of produce at Aba, which played a big part in diverting trade from its normal economic channels to Aba, and thence to Port Harcourt; and the lack of development of inland waterways leading to Ikot Abasi -all of which served to reduce Ikot Abasi's share in the produce trade almost to extinction by 1955 (Resident, 1955).


Other factors were the adverse rivalry with Port Harcourt and the political machinations of the ruling NCNC party. Massive development of port facilities at Port Harcourt contrasted markedly with the neglect of Ikot Abasi. Neither the continued entreaties by the public and the Ibibio State Union, nor the representations of the District Officer for Opobo Division, I. C. Jackson, in 1955 and the intervention of the Resident for Calabar Province could force the government to dredge or re-open the port, the silting process of which, it was noticed, was being reversed and there was as much water on the bar as previously

(Jackson, 1955). Jackson's plea, true in 1955, when it was made, as it is in 1996, saw the resuscitation of Ikot Abasi Township as a joint venture between Government, private companies and non-governmental organisations, and deserves notice:


Category: Urbanisation of Ikot Abasi


Socio-Political Development

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 23:00, views: 6 493


Most of Nigeria had been conquered, and her people, subjugated by Britain, by 1915. Thereafter, any of the conquered people who revolted against British rule were severely repressed by colonial troops in what the British termed, pacification. During this period too (ca. 1915-ca. 1925), any remaining pockets of unconquered people were finally brought under British rule.


The colonial conquests and post-conquest repression and the vigour with which the British established communication, transportation and administrative infrastructure, largely with a view to consolidating British authority, convinced the subjected people that British rule had come to stay. In the circumstances, they sought ways and means of coming to terms with the colonial situation. They co-operated as much as they could with the British colonial agents and administrative machinery, but, also, they endeavoured to adapt their age-old beliefs, institutions and practices to the new situation. They also built new institutions and associations capable of meeting the challenges of the new economic, social and political order.


In Opobo Division, the Ogoni were the last to be conquered (1913-1914). For several years thereafter, police patrols carried out pacification work among them, as well as in some Anaang and Ibibio areas. In that way, by early 1920's, British rule had been completely established throughout Opobo Division, a system of Indirect Rule had been inaugurated, and Christian Missions and Western education had been introduced into the Division (Cheesman, 1932 B).


This category discusses several fundamental issues, events and movements associated with Opobo Division in the course of the political development of Nigeria between 1928. when colonial rule had been firmly established, as well as the Ibibio State Union, and 1987. when Akwa Ibom State was created. The matters discussed are the rise of the new African elite and the development of ethnic improvement unions; anti-colonial resistance, particularly the Women's War of 1929 against the perceived colonial injustices to women: Nigerian politics; independence and state creation movements. In some of these matters, Ikot Abasi indigenes played crucial roles.

Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


Rise of the Educated Elite: The expansion of Western Education

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 22:00, views: 10 791


The Ibibio always ask for school (Cheesman, 1932).

In Ibibioland, the Missions were judged by the quality of their schools (Ann. Rep., 1944).


A distinctive characteristic of the colonial period in Nigeria following the imposition of a pax Britannica was the expansion of Christianity and Western education - the first one, by various missionary organisations, and the other one, by these organisations primarily, supplemented by the colonial government and the Native Administration (NA) authorities. Western education brought about profound socio-economic and political changes in Opobo Division, as in other regions of Nigeria.


Education, even more than the Native Courts and Warrant Chiefs, has done its share in breaking down the indigenous customs and system of administration. It has been used to foster sects of religion and is a definite bribe to attract church members.
(DO, Annual Report, 1932)


In Opobo Division, Western education made a very slow initial progress. The initiative came from the British colonial government, which established a Government Elementary School at Opobo Town about January 1905. It was the only Government school in the Division. Although it achieved high academic standards, and was attended by some pupils from the neighbouring Anaang, Ibibio, Andoni and Ogoni areas for Standard V and VI classes, it was closed down in April 1934 as an economic measure and merged with the Niger Delta Pastorate (NDP/Anglican) school, also located in Opobo Town (Shute, 1933). With its closure, Opobo Division had no government school up to Nigeria's Independence in 1960. Moreover, the closure left the NDP school for many years as the only other reputable school in the entire Division (Richards, 1930).


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development