Work on the N25billion contract for the dredging of River Benue which was awarded by the Federal Government last year is to commence soon. The Acting Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, Danladi Ibrahim disclosed this while briefing journalists in Lokoja on the activities of the Agency since his assumption of office.
The dredging of the two major Rivers Niger and Benue according to the MD 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 the maritime industry is very relevant to transport the products within and outside the country.
On the current challenge of under funding of the water transport sector, Danladi Ibrahim expressed the hope that the problem will be over as soon as the National Inland Waterways Authority Bill before the National Assembly is through.
He named other stakeholders in the Maritime industry who could effectively contribute to the funding of the navigation transport to include; dams which derives their power from water and all the oil companies in Nigeria.
“With the right legal frame work 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.
-Joseph Amedu, Lokoja