By Chinonso Alozie
The Imo state governor, Hope Uzodimma, on Friday clarified that the Orashi river project was about the dredging of Orashi river in Oguta council area of Imo, to Atlantic ocean and not the construction of a seaport.
Uzodimma stated this to newsmen in Owerri, through his state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, while reacting to a media report which stated that the presidency was not aware of a construction of a seaport in Imo.
According to Emelumba, “Gov Hope Uzodimma never talked about sea port at Oguta or Orashi, but harped on the economic benefits of dredging the river up to the Atlantic ocean. He added that the governor could not have talked of a seaport in Imo state when there is no sea in the state, adding that what the governor was emphasising was having access to the sea through the dredging of existing waterways.
“He said this, after an inspection tour of the area, Uzodimma specifically told reporters that he went with the Navy to understand the terrain better and appreciate the beauty nature has bestowed to this state.
The governor further said:”The enormous natural endowment in this area is yet to be tapped. Our first line of action will be to create access road that will enable security agents to patrol the channel up to the sea; the access will help stimulate commercial activities and halt crude oil theft and vandalization of oil installations”
“It is regrettable that the opposition and some biased maritime reporters had stoked the fire of controversy to take the shine off the huge vision behind the project. This was not the first time that attempt was being made to dredge the Orashi River to join the Atlantic ocean.
“Even during the colonial time, ships were moving from the Atlantic Ocean and Port Harcourt to use a motor, a river port in the bank of Oguta Lake in Oguta Local Government Area of the state.” He also debunked “The insinuations by the PDP that the federal government cannot collaborate with the Imo state government to set up a port in the state.”
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