Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
The Imo State Government on Monday said part of the benefits of having the Urashi River dredged to the Atlantic ocean is that it would reduce the effect of flooding currently ravaging the riverine communities of Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the state.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, stated this while fielding questions on a radio phone-in programme in Owerri, on the flood ravaging Imo communities.
Since Sunday, floods had sacked hundreds of communities in Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema local government areas of Imo State. Residents were forced to abandon their homes. The flood had swallowed buildings and destroyed properties as villagers took refuge in neighbouring communities, schools and churches.
According to Emelumba, on the proposed dredging, “the river would be dredged through certain routes in the South-East region. The Navy would be conducting surveillance on the area to provide enough security along the river channels. Remember, the top officers of the Navy have visited the area.
“So, the story of the minister who said he was not aware of the construction of a seaport is correct because what the governor said is the dredging of the Urashi river to the Atlantic Ocean and that it will create a lot of economic opportunities for our people. He did not talk about constructing a seaport.
“Just like the river channel through which goods were imported through Osemotto in Oguta Council Area of Imo State, is blocked, and if the channel is not blocked we may not have this level of flood that sacked about 15 communities in Imo. The water will find its way into the Atlantic ocean,” he said.
He further said: “There are so many roads begging for attention in Imo. When we came in all the roads were begging for attention. We should commend the government so far on the extent it has gone in road construction. The govt will not manufacture money from heaven to do all the roads. It is a gradual process as far as we are in government this government will attend to these roads. Just like the drainages are being desilted, it will help to control flood and you can see the work of clearing of the drainage has been going on very well.”