The Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, has emphasized his resolve to harness the opportunities presented by the Ogurugu waterway and jetty to boost the state’s economy, ease transportation, and create employment.
This is as the Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, assured of expedited work on the proposed naval base in the Ogurugu coastal community at Uzo Uwani Council Area, to strengthen security and shore up investors’ confidence in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the governor made the promise during an inspection of facilities at Ogurugu jetty with Ogalla on Saturday in Enugu.
Ogalla had on Thursday, during a visit to Mbah, said the navy would establish an operational base in the Uzo Uwani Council Area of Enugu state as a way of providing internal security to the state.
Mbah, who was represented by his Deputy, Ifeanyi Ossai, further gave the government’s total support to the proposed naval base.
He said, “The economy of Nigeria is essentially road-driven and that contributes to damage to our roads because no one measures the axle weight.
“But with the investment the Navy is trying to make in our waters, they can now police the navigable waterways, which is cheaper for the movement of goods and services. That was why the colonial companies like the UAC, John Holt, among others, used this place as a forwarding base for trading.
“So, what this will essentially do is that it will help to explode the economy of Enugu State as it is going to be a major contributor to the growth of our economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion as we promised our people.
“It will further enhance our planned special crop processing zone and as a government, we will give the navy and indeed the federal government all the support to make the project happen in no distant time.”
Speaking earlier, Ogalla assured that expeditious action would be given to the setting up of the naval facilities, adding that the base would be of immense benefit not only to the SouthEast region, but the North Central zone.
He also said that the activities of naval officers in the state would help reassure investors in the state of their security as well as their investment.
“The establishment of the naval base at Ogurugu community is going to be as quickly as possible. We have seen the facilities left behind by the federal government, which can serve as a starting point for us.
“We have seen the jetty also built by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), which is one of the most difficult aspects of establishing a naval base. The two important facilities are like springboards for setting up a naval base.
“So, I believe what we need is just to do the remaining paperwork, get all the necessary approvals, and within a short time, the naval base would be here because it is very important to our operations in the South East and the North Central,” he said.
The Chief of the Naval Staff added that the establishment of a naval base in the area would open up Ogurugu Port, which used to be a port during the colonial era, and by doing so, ease the pressure on the roads.
“By the time we are here, the investing general public will also have more confidence in using this waterway as a viable means of transportation.
“So, I believe that our presence here is very important. We are going to hasten it up in collaboration with the state government, which has given us immense support,” he added.