Amby Uneze in Owerri
Worried by the level of neglect at the Oguta River Port Complex, in Osemoto, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, the management of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has promised to revive the once-viable route to transport palm oil and other commodities from Eastern Nigeria to Europe in the 60s.
Expressing disappointment while on a familiarisation tour to the facility on Monday, the Managing Director of NIWA, Chief George Muoghalu, noted that the federal government had spent huge sum of money only for it to be abandoned.
He also expressed anger over the level of vandalism on the project awarded in 2009, by late President Umar Yar’adua and abandoned two years after, due to non-release of funds.
He attributed the activities of the vandals to the insecurity nature of the premises of the port which he said was not fenced.
Although, he pointed out that resources to complete the project might be limited, he promised that the federal government would endeavour to see the project completed in the shortest possible time.
According to Muoghalu, the level of vandalism was disturbing because it was left for a very long time.
“I am not happy that the facility is not fenced, we are aware that resources might not be available to continue the project, but we promise to see what we can do to complete it,” he said.
He added, “we are also not happy with the quality of work done by the contractor, money expended should be justified, we would make case for fund even though we know a lot has been spent, we plead with the traditional rulers and members of the community to see the project as their own, they must help government to protect it”
Speaking also at the visit, Gogo Nwakuche, contractor handling the project thanked the MD for his visit just he also likened the level of dilapidation of the project to its being abandoned for long.
Nwakuche, however, expressed thanks to the federal government for its foresight in constructing the river port at Oguta, maintaining that it would boost economic activities of the state and Nigeria as whole when completed.
Briefing the NIWA Boss, the traditional ruler of the community Eze Franklin Okafor, expressed gratitude to the federal government for appointing Muoghalu the managing director/chief executive of the authority and for the interest to revive the port.
Also speaking, leader of the community, Henry Okafor assured the authority of cooperation of the people of the area in seeing that the project is completed, considering the enormous benefits to the people of the area in particular and Imo State in general.
Muoghalu, also seized the opportunity to inspect the project at Owerre-nta, boundary between Imo and Abia States.