FG set to begin N25b River Niger, Benue dredging – NIWA

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The National Inland Ways Authority (NIWA) said work will soon commence on the N25billion contract awarded for the dredging of River Benue. The Federal Government awarded the contract late last year.

The Acting Managing Director of NIWA, Danladi Ibrahim, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, on the activities of the organisation since his assumption of office.

The dredging of the two major Rivers Niger and Benue, according to him, is aimed at boosting the nation’s navigation transportation system.

“Maritime transportation is an effective means of movement across the country. You can access all states of the federation by water transportation if adequate manpower through either the private or government sectors could be provided,” he maintained.

Ibrahim noted that as the nation’s crude oil price is no longer lucrative and booming, Nigeria is gradually returning to its original agricultural and solid mineral economic mainstream of which makes the maritime industry very relevant to transport the products within and outside the country.

On the current challenge of underfunding of the water transport sector, Ibrahim said the problem will be over as soon as the NIWA Bill before the National Assembly is passed.

He named other stakeholders in the maritime industry who could effectively contribute to the funding of the navigation transport to include, dams which derive their power from water and all the oil companies in Nigeria.

“With the right legal framework to compel these stakeholders in funding of the National Inland Waterways Authority, our problem will be over,” he assured.

The MD said the existing five river ports are currently being funded by the Federal Government, calling on the private sector to join hands with government in the development of the maritime industry through private/public partnership.