Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has emphasized the need for a naval base in the state, saying such a base would attract both economic and security benefits to the state.
He therefore expressed the willingness of his government to ensure effective presence of the Nigerian Navy in the state.
Governor Uzodimma spoke when he accompanied a team of Naval officers from Abuja to inspect Naval facilities at Osse Moto in Oguta Local Government Area of the state, a place meant for the proposed Naval Base.
Governor Uzodimma said: “There are both economic and security justification for the Navy to come into Imo State as soon as possible as this will make life more meaningful and help to curb all forms of vices perpetrated along the riverine communities in Imo State.”
The governor maintained that the call for Nigerian Navy to establish presence in the communities living on the river bank in Imo State will “help in the protection and management of maritime activities in the areas.
He pledged the willingness of the state to partner with the Nigerian Navy in the rehabilitation of the existing dilapidated and abandoned facilities at Osse Moto Community in Oguta Local Government Area of the state.
He reiterated that doing so will help to check the rising cases of banditry, illegal oil bunkering and other economic sabotage activities that tend to hamper the economic growth of the state.
He warned parents, youths and all those involved in illegal businesses in the riverine areas of the state “to think twice as government will not take such activities lightly.”
The governor thanked the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Gambo for approving the establishment of a maritime Naval Base in Imo State considering the fact that “their presence is an assurance to the overall safety of the state.”
In his remarks, the traditional ruler of Osse Moto Autonomous Community, Oguta LGA, HRH Eze Franklin Okafor, prayed for the success of the Uzodimma administration, and advised detractors to sheathe their swords as the governor’s coming to power was divine.
He pledged the support of his people and Oguta to the commencement of activities at the Naval Base and to assist in the realization of the project.
Leader of the Naval team to Imo State, Rear Admiral Odogwu Ezekobe said their presence in Oguta will afford them the opportunity to synergize with other units within the Niger Delta since they already have presence at Mbiama, Yenagoa and Brass.
Ezekobe noted that it will help them have a panoramic view of what is happening at the hinterland and hopefully curb all forms of illegality and criminality within the region.