By Henry Omoregie
There are hundreds of fishing ports in the Niger Delta coastline and estuaries. However, Oyorokoto in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State is reputed to be the largest fishing port in West Africa.
I visited Oyorokoto by boat from a swamp oil drilling rig in 1989. It was fish fish and fish everywhere you looked.
An instablogger Enefaa, who also visited the fish island two years ago also reported the same scene. “Oyorokoto is located on Nigeria’s coast by the Atlantic Ocean. Although the indigenous people in the area are Andonis, like most fishing ports, you will find people from different riverine ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and also from other West African countries.
There are other smaller fishing ports in the area,one of which is called Ajegunle because most of the fishermen found there are Yorubas.”
During my first trip by boat, we had our drilling location at Asarama-toru close to Bonny lsland. It was a 7-minute ride by fast boat.
However, these days, “the only way to get to Oyorokoto over land is to get to Ikuru Town and then make use of the beach along the coast all the way to the fishing port.” Although the use of this route is risky when the tide is high, better and safer trips are guaranteed during low tide.There are rivers that are tributaries of the Atlantic Ocean
“We were unable to use this route on our way to the island because we realized the tide was still high when we arrived at Asarama (the last stop for most buses to Andoni from Port Harcourt/Bori), so we used the second route which is shorter but has more stops. We took a speedboat to Ngo, then a motorcycle ride across the island at N400 each (that’s how long the journey was). On the other side of
the island, we got into a canoe and rowed all the way to Oyorokoto.”
Everywhere visible to the eyes right from the landing on the shore through the fishing settlements mostly thatched roofs and places of abode were all species of fish and aquatic animals. From sharks to barracuda. Crabs and oysters the ubiquitous periwinkles which shells were used to pave walkways on the massive fishing port with kilometers of sandy beaches.
A typical pot of soup on the boil in Oyorokoto is filled with all kinds of seafood. If Oyorokoto is upgraded and finally reachable by road, the potential for it to be a money spinning fish resort for Rivers State will be enormous.
The massive fishing port is midway between the Ogoni and Bonny lsland route. The fishing community must have been bracing up for potential boom in business when the Bonny-Bodo road is fully motorable.
Compiled by Henry Omoregie. Photos by Enefaa