Uzodimma: Orashi River portends great economic benefit to South East

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….Tours river-bed with Navy from Oguta Lake

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State with officials of his government and those of the Navy on Saturday embarked on a tour of the River-bed of Orashi River from the Oguta Lake axis and came out with the strong impression that the river portends great economic benefit to the South East.

The Governor and the Naval officers had agreed to embark on a tour of the Orashi River from the Oguta Lake Saturday.

An excited Governor Uzodimma told the media after the tour of Orashi River that when the place is finally opened up it will not only serve as good corridor for the Navy to access other waterways to discharge their duties effectively but will serve as a huge source of economic revitalisation not only in Imo State in the South East and beyond.

The Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and other top government officials Governor Uzodimma on the tour of the river while the Navy was led by the Commander of Oguta Naval Base in Imo State, Navy Captain A. W. Umaru.

Governor Uzodimma said he was optimistic that those who live on the water banks of the Oguta lake as well as others commuting from there to other parts of Imo State and the neighbouring states will be better off when the place is fully activated.

Recall that Governor met with officials of the Nigerian Navy on Friday in Government House Owerri in furtherance of discussion on approval given by President Muhammadu Buhari for the dredging of Orashi River from Oguta lake to link the Atlantic Ocean for the enhancement of economic activities on that corridor.

President Buhari had communicated his approval for the project through the Office of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, based on Governor Uzodimma’s proposal that the Orashi River from Oguta Lake is pregnant with lots of economic activities if drained and linked to the Atlantic Ocean.

At the meeting which held at the Government House Owerri, Rear Admiral Silyranda Lassa represented the Chief of Naval Staff.

Addressing the media on the essence of his meeting with the Navy, Governor Uzodimma had said it was in furtherance of the discussions and proposals by the Imo State Government to the Federal Government to pursue her Gas Industrialization Policy on the Oguta Lake and Orashi River axis.

He had said that the leadership of Nigerian Navy were in the State to “visit the site to assess the main obstacles hindering the programme as proposed by the State Government.”

Governor Uzodimma had said that the Government of Imo State “considered it expedient to propose to Nigerian Navy for a partnership to open the access of Oguta Lake and Orashi River up to the Sea in River State to enable bigger vessels come into Imo State.”

The Governor had said: “When realised the project will help manage the security situation in the area, eliminate cases of crude oil stealing, pipeline vandalism and enhance security.”

Additionally, he had said the realisation of the project will “stimulate economic activities, create more jobs for our people and then boost the economy of the State

Governor Uzodimma has said the Naval Officers who are in the State will visit the site on Saturday, September 24, 2022, and thereafter “Government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) leading to the project implementation proper.”

He had described the project as work in progress, assuring that “when the MOU is signed and the other processes concluded the authorities will come up with the work programme highlights which will be made available to the public.”

Speaking on the reason for their meeting/visit, Rear Admiral Silyranda Lassa who represented Rear Admiral Gambo had said recently they “established a Naval Base at Oguta which has helped in addressing certain security challenges in the area.”

“Beyond that, it has made social and economic activities to strive, especially with giant strides in the security areas made the State Government.”

Furthermore, Lassa had said as a Maritime Security Agency the corridor will provide them with the opportunity “to also assist the State in any way they can and in some certain aspects, the State’s desire to at least alleviate what they are seeing as the de-generalization activities within the State.”

The Naval Chief had also informed that they were in Imo “at the instant of the Chief of Naval Staff to look at where we will partner with the State Government to assist in some of these areas and help the State benefit from her enormous resources.”

He had acknowledged that a lot of natural resources abound in the area and that when they are opened up “Imo State will be one of the leading States in the Gas industrialization activities in Nigeria.”

Lassa had added that in the course of their visit, the Hydrographer of Nigerian Navy will look at the area under examination and carry out the survey. “They will be able to chart appropriate areas they think that will be in cheapest possible manner they can achieve the mandate to the State,” he said.

He had acknowledged that the Geographic Department of the Nigerian Navy has already started the dredging/expansion and survey of the River Niger which started from Lokoja, noting that work has progressed up to Burutu.

“Once this is completed the entire aspect of the survey is done. It will be left for the Federal Government to do the needful and the expansion of that axis. So when the corridor is expanded it will open up the area to the benefit of Imo State and Country in general.”