Imo State government has clarified that it was not building a seaport but partnering with the federal government for the dredging of the Orashi River to link it to the Atlantic ocean.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba gave the explanation in a statement in Owerri.
Emelumba said the explanation has become necessary following various interpretation of the project by many interest groups.
According to him, Governor Hope Uzodimma never talked about seaport 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 emphasizing was having access to the sea through the dredging of existing waterways.
Emelumba said, “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.”
Emelumba regretted 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.
The commissioner said this was not the first time that attempt was being made to dredge the Orashi River to join the Atlantic ocean.
He noted that even during the colonial time, ships were moving from the Atlantic ocean and Port Harcourt to Osemotor, 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 Imo State government to set up a port in the state.
He recalled that Governor Uzodimma had also told reporters that “Bonny was like this (ORASHI RIVER) in 1948 until the first vessel came in, then people began to appreciate it.”
Emelumba said with time after the dredging, people will begin to feel the economic benefits of the project.