…As FG pledges renewed support
The Managing Director, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Hajiya Inna Maryam Ciroma on Tuesday, pledged to provide all “necessary infrastructures” that would be required, to make navigation in Nigeria’s waterways absolutely”effective and efficient”.
She made the statement at Eko Hotel, while addressing stakeholders and intellectuals who gathered for a brainstorming session, meant to evolve a road map, for repositioning and improving activities on the inland waterways.
Pointing out that it was not enough to dredge the River Niger from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State, covering a distance of about 572 kilometres, she assured that NIWA would now ensure that sanity and global best practices also reigned, so as to ensure that the 100 metres wide channels with a minimum depth of 2.5 metres can also be put to best, productive use, all year round.
“The Authority with its regulatory responsibilities has the big challenge of enthroning global best practices in the inland waterways sub sector. It also has the responsibility of maintaining the more than 10,000 kilometres of waterways, out of which only 3,000 kilometres are navigable.
“For the dredged River Niger to be put in proper and effective use, the Federal Government also approved the rehabilitation of the abandoned Onitsha River Port, which is being put up for concessioning by Messrs Green Strators of India, under the supervision of ICRC.
“Furthermore, new River ports would be developed at Baro in Niger State, Oguta in Imo State, and Lokoja in Kogi State; and other jetties are being constructed in different parts of the country, with the objective of ensuring maximum utilizations of the dredged River Niger”, the NIWA Boss observed further, enjoining participants to focus closely on the theme of the conference which was: “Modernizing Inland Water Infrastructure and Vessels for safe and sustainable inland Waterways Transportation in Nigeria”.
In his contribution, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar who represented President Goodluck Jonathan stressed that Government was determined to entrench enduring security in the country’s waters, adding that it was for this reason that the channel of Benue River would soon be opened up, with the award of relevant contracts.
The brainstorming session was however, almost marred by the late arrival of Senator Idris Umar, who arrived the venue at 12.53 pm, by which time some guests were beginning to leave, to officially and formally declared open, an event which ought to have begun at 9.am