There is a recent development in Nigeria, as Federal Government promises to complete river ports located at Baro, Niger State, Lokoja, Kogi State and Oguta in Imo State, which has been abandoned for decades before the end of 2019.
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, gave the assurance in Lagos, at the 2017 National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) International Conference and Exhibition, adding that budgetary appropriations have been made to ensure the completion of the projects.
Rotimi encouraged the private sector to maximally utilize the network of rivers, creeks, lagoons, and lakes in the country, even as he tasked NIWA management to procure bigger dredgers in order for the agency to perform better in its operations.
Adequate budgetary appropriations have been made to ensure the completion of the Baro, Lokoja and Oguta River Ports within the lifespan of this administration. I am pleased to confirm that we have recorded tremendous progress on the concessioning of Onitsha River Port and we are very hopeful that the process of concessioning of the port will be completed before the end of the year.
I am happy to announce that NIWA, especially under its new leadership, has been able to look inward and through their in-house engineers, have commenced the maintenance dredging of the Ajaokuta to Onitsha channels of River Niger; and this will save the country huge sums of money. Thus I implore NIWA to procure bigger dredgers that have a bigger capacity to perform better than they are doing presently.”
In his remarks, Managing Director of NIWA, Boss Mustapha, stated that the agency is focused on developing inland ports for cargo handling and passenger operations in order to create connectivity for multimodal transport linkages (Road-Rail-Waterways-Sea).
One of the focuses of this conference is to encourage government and stakeholders to strengthen the desired machinery towards deriving the benefits of investments in Coastal and Inland Shipping Operations on the Nigerian waterways.
The Onitsha port that is fully equipped and was commissioned in January 2013 has now received ministerial approval for the advert for Expression of Interest (EoI) to be published.
There is a probability that, we will execute the construction and installation of cargo handling equipment at the Baro port, Lokoja Port, and Oguta port completely this year.
We are also looking at the number of jetties and landing platforms in many communities along the waterways this year
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