From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Disturbed by the level of unemployment in Imo State and strangulation of her socioeconomic activities due to over dependence in dwindling Federal allocations, Princess Calista Anene-Ahmed has advised Imo State Government (IMSG) on the need to look inwards and maximize the untapped potentials of Oguta Wonder Lake.
Anene-Ahmed who is Senior Special Adviser(SSA) to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State on Social Developments and Humanitarian activities disclosed this shortly after her pionic boat ride with her staff to the length and width of the blue lake as part of her office activities marking the one year anniversary of the Shared Prosperity and 3 R administrative mantra of the state.
According to her “honestly, my experience so far on Oguta lake if properly harnessed the issue of youths unemployment and paucity of funds in Imo State will definitely be a thing of the past,Fisheries sector plays an important role in communities,state and Country’s economy and the well- being of the masses.
The contributions of the sector to the state socioeconomic activities can be increased if challenges in the industry are minimized and the opportunities explored. Large scale aquaculture which is a crucial economic activity earnings of the sector that encompasses fish traders, fish processors, fish farmers etc.
The sector would give supports to many Imolites and Nigerians directly and indirectly as well as fishermen in Oguta LGA and it’s neighboring communities, hence the empowerment can stop importation of fish” she pointed out.
The Governor’s aide further observed that 80% of aquaculture production in Nigeria is manned by small-scale farmers, except for few commercial ventures insisting that Oguta,Imo and Nigeria is blessed with numerous opportunities for large-scale aquaculture.
She however decried the challenges militating against an improvement on aqua industry to include recurrent high cost fish feeds, poor water quality management, poor quality fish seeds, technical know-how etc.
Anene-Ahmed observed that beyond the constraints to aquatic productions that there are more pertinent factors responsible for un-sustainability of fish farm operation as business ventures.
She pointed out that her mission for touring the lake is to identify investment opportunities in large scale aquacultural activities and the challenges militating against fish farming in Oguta , Imo state and Nigeria.
The SSA also identify poor production planning and inadequate technical know-how as factors forestalling fish productions in commercial quantities.
She canvassed for adequate commercialization of the sector through broad government fiscal efforts and sectorial re-organisation in all Nigerian states
During the tour, Princess Anene-Ahmed said that one Mr Okonya , a fisherman in his boat complained of the need to advanced for the safety of fishermen due to the high rise of illegal vessels and their operations
He went further to say that fishes are vanishing unlike the time of his father and grand fathers stressing that the fishes are now smaller and more expensive, some species are slowly fading away.
The fisher man complained that now they have to spend two to three hours deep into the water to catch fishes and usually it’s not enough for their customers demand.
Anene- Ahmed optimistically assured them that Governor Hope Uzodimma means well to them noting that very soon their stories will change for the best as the Shared Prosperity government is working hard to improve their lots.
Highlight of the Governor’s aide visit was a stop over at the lakes confluence, two different Colours of the lake ,where the orashi (male) and Ogbuide (female )joined and the lake continued but can never kiss each other according to the boat rider cum tourist guide.