Abuja — With the near-completion of the dredging of the Lower River Niger a year after its contract was awarded for N36 billion, the Federal Government has called on private organisations to buy into it by investing in navigational activities along the waterways stretching some 8,600km from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State.
Minister of Transport, Mr. Yusuf Suleiman ssaid in order to maximize the available potentials within the waterways, there was need for the private sector to inject the much needed funds and the skills required to develop the inland waterways infrastructure necessary to develop the sub sector in the country.
He said the dredged Lower River Niger which is almost near complete stage, except that of the Lot 5 in Baro, the project would have been 100 percent complete. The inland waterway according to him stretches from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State, cutting across six states of Kogi, Anambra, Imo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa with a total length of 572 kilometres.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Edugie Abebe, made the declaration in a keynote address to Stakeholders Conference on the Economic Benefits of the Dredged Lower River Niger in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Underscoring the potentials in inland waterways, the Minister added that Nigeria has the second longest length of waterways in Africa with about 8,600km and an extensive coastal area of about 853km of water transport. Despite all these opportunities in the country’s waterways, he noted that the sector is grossly underutilized and underdeveloped.
He said “It is in view of these potentials that the present administration embarked on the dredging of the lower River in order to open up the hinterland through the effective utilization of the River Niger as a means of inland water transportation in Nigeria. Suleiman stated that in order to ensure navigation of vessels an ferries along the dredged channels government also considered the construction of River Ports at Lokoja, Oguta lake, Degema, Onitsha, Owerrinta Jetty, Ndoni Jety, Idah and Baro.
Source: Thisdayonline.com (Nigeria) Image: 234next.com