Imo’s economy game changing dredging of Oguta Lake, Orashi River begins
May 15, 2023120 views0 comments
By Saby Elemba, in Owerri
- Expected to bring economic transformation
Concerted efforts and plans made to scale-up economic activities in Imo State and make it more economically viable to pull in investors through the opening up of the Oguta Lake and Orashi River, appear to be heading to full realisation following the take off of the dredging of the two water bodies.
Many see the dredging of these water bodies as a game changer for the state’s economy because of what they say is its ability to serve as an economic transformation agent.
The project will help to revive the economic channels and enhance coastal connectivity and ensure security on the stretch of the two rivers opening up to the Atlantic Ocean, and when completed will offer economic opportunities to the host communities, Imo State and Nigeria in general.
Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke at Oguta at a ceremony to flag-off the hydro-graphic survey and dredging of Oguta Lake and Orashi River to Degema in Rivers State up to the Atlantic Ocean, described the economic project as a game charger for the state.
He said that the federal government would support the Imo State government to bring the dredging of Oguta Lake and Orashi River development project to fruition, but has urged all to join hands to achieve the lofty economic project and reminded the audience that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a Free Trade Zone that will leverage on the large gas carbon deposit in the area.
He also described the project as a “unique one that comes with its economic transformation, opening Imo State as a gateway to other West African countries.”
Governor Hope Uzodinma thanked President Buhari for “the approval to dredge the two rivers, for approval to locate the Naval Base in Imo State, for approval to uplift Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri to Federal University Teaching Hospital Owerri, for approval to make Alvan Ikoku College of Education a Federal University College of Education and for approval to establish Oil Reclamation Programme in Imo State.”
He also expressed gratitude to President Buhari for his support to recover Imo from bandits and hoodlums that terrorised the state, just as he commended the vice president, the chief of defence staff, chief of naval staff and other guests for being physically present, saying that “the project is for trade and investment, economic transformation and fight against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.”
The project will be achieved not with magic but by the miracle of public private partnership (PPP), the governor said, adding, “The dredging and opening of the two rivers to the Atlantic will remove Imo State from being landlocked as it is encapsulated in security and economic development”.
According to Uzodiinma , the hydro-graphic survey and dredging are to determine the mapping and depth of the entire distance from Oguta Lake to the Atlantic ocean.
“The success of the project will bring unquantifiable employment for Imo State, the South East and Nigeria at large, this will be followed by the establishment of an industrial cluster leveraging on the gas deposits and other natural resources in the area. In addition, the project will bring about cultural ties between the South East and the South South when the security is strengthened and movement becomes seamless,” said Uzodinma .
The high point of the event was the formal cutting of the tape by Osinbajo, supported by the governor, the chief of defence staff, the chief of naval staff, the ministers, and other high ranking guests including, Captain A.Y. Mohammed of the hydro-graphic office who spoke on the different maps connecting the Oguta Lake to other waterways in and out of Nigeria.