By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Acting Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Danladi Ibrahim,has disclosed that the face of Nigerian inland waterways has been changed, since the organization embarked on direct maintenance dredging of the channels.
Ibrahim who made the disclosure to newsmen over the weekend, noted that dredging of the channels is a very cheap way of maintaining the waterways unlike the previous practice.
He announced that the organization has also completed one of its major port in Baro, and the one in Lokoja is almost 75 percent completed.
According to him, “NIWA has achieved a lot since 2015, the development of inland waterways system in Nigeria was accelerated in 2015 when the present regime came on board. We have also put in programmes for the channel management of the River Niger and Benue. That apart, our expectations from the 2018 budget is that we intend to complete Lokoja port.
“We also intend to start the actual river dredging works of Baro to Lokoja, we are also going to buy batches to start moving cargoes from Lagos port to Onitsha and Baro, we are going to buy additional dredgers to enhance our capacity for in-house maintenance dredging of the channels” he said.
The Acting Managing Director, announced, that the port will be completed before the end of the year. “As soon as the budget implementation start, we will swing into action, Onitsha has been concession already, so operations will start any moment from now.
“We will also complete Oguta port in Imo state, before the end of the year it’s 70 per cent completed, so we are looking at Lokoja, Oguta ports to be completed in 2018 but in 2019, we will commence the Makurdi port. We develop port as the needs arises, in phases” he remarked.
He further enthused that when the Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro ports come into operation, more than 2000 direct and indirect jobs will be created, adding that the operations of these ports would attract infrastructure.
“like thame farms, the port will be connected with rail, companies like Dangote and BUA will also be handy to utilise this ports” he added.
Ibrahim further stated that the dredging maintenance from Ajeokuta-Onitsha, will be done this year as soon as the budget is ready for implementation, adding that they just completed the maintenance dredging from Baro to Idah in Kogi state and are acquiring additional two dredgers.
In his words, “From our 2018 budget and every year, we will be adding until we have a pool of sufficient number of dredgers that we can maintain”.