Owerri, Sept. 26, 2023: Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo has said that the hydrographic and bathymetric investigative survey report of the Oguta Lake will help to optimise the gas sector in the state.
Uzodimma said this when he received a comprehensive survey report of the project from the Nigerian Navy experts at the Government House, Owerri on Monday.
The survey report contains investigation into the possible dredging of the Oguta/Orashi River up to the Atlantic Ocean.
The governor said that the project was started to encourage gas optimisation in the state in particular and South-East in general.
He said the state was suitable for gas industrial cluster, petrochemical plant as well as fertilizer plant.
He further said that his administration was already considering a Public Private Partnership in the maritime business from China and France to key into the project.
He expressed the confidence that the dredging of the Oguta Lake to the Atlantic Ocean would create jobs, eliminate oil theft and help in harnessing abundant gas deposit and other natural resources at the coast of the lake and Atlantic Ocean.
“This will be the future economic livewire of the state,” Uzodimma said.
He also said that with the submission of the report and advantages that would accrue from the project, “the 3R Government will provide every possible thing required to achieve the project.”
He said that “the state embarked on the project at a highly conservative and subsidised cost.
“Talks are ongoing with a foreign outfit that will participate in the dredging with their sophisticated dredging equipment still at a subsidised cost.
“The dredging is the kind of thing I expect politicians to discuss.
“An idea that will enhance the future of Imo because ideas rule the world, not those fouling the environment with talks of I will make Imo safe again, when they have no manifesto,” he said.
Uzodimma commended President Bola Tinubu for supporting the project, promising that his administration would work with the Navy and all the stakeholders to achieve a win-win situation.
NAN reports that the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Hydrological Agency, Rear Adm. Hassan Kaoje, led a team of top Naval officers to submit the report to Uzodimma.
In a remark, Kaoje expressed the satisfaction of the Chief of Naval Staff and entire Navy over the support and cooperation between them and the State Government, along with the people.
He expressed the readiness of the Navy to continue to partner with the state to realise the project.
In his presentation, the Navy Hydrographer of the Federation, Rear Adm. Ayo Olugbode, described Uzodimma as the first governor to ever embark on such project in the history of Nigeria.
Olugbode said the same dredging route was used for trading during the colonial days, up until 1854.
“This means that Gov. Uzodimma is bringing back to life what was used as trade route long ago,” he said.
He underscored the need for environmental impact assessment and further dredging/canalisation of recommended sea access route from Orashi River up to Bonny River via Onne for navigation by bigger platforms.
Olugbode further called for the installation and maintenance of standard IALA buoys and other aids to navigation, among others.
The dredging of the Oguta Lake to Orashi River and the Atlantic Ocean was launched by former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 12.