Talks between Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and the Nigerian Navy has commenced in earnest after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the drainage of the Orashi River in Oguta local government area of Imo State, to link the Atlantic Ocean.
A statement signed by Marcel Oguwuike, Chief Press Secretary to the Imo State Governor, revealed that the President has communicated his approval for the project through the office of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo.
According to the statement, Governor Uzodimma, in his proposal for the drainage of the river in Oguta, pointed that it “is pregnant with lots of economic activities on that corridor”
The Imo State Governor, and representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Silyranda Lassa, met at Government House, Owerri, in furtherance of the talks.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Uzodimma said it was in continuation of the discussions and proposals by the Imo State Government to the Federal Government to pursue her Gas Industrialization on the Oguta lake and Orashi River axis, stressing that the leadership of the Nigerian Navy were in Imo State to “visit the site to assess the main obstacles hindering the programme as proposed by the State Government.”
According to him, his administration 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 Rivers State to enable bigger vessels come into Imo State
On some of the gains of the project, he 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, and will “stimulate economic activities, create more jobs for our people and then boost the economy of the State.”
He 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.”
Rear Admiral Silyranda Lassa, who represented Rear Admiral Gambo said 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.” he stated.