Dredging of River Niger Begins In June--FG
By Sanni Gombe, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday in Abuja said that the dredging of the Lower River Niger would begin in June.
The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio, said this at a stakeholders meeting with some state commissioners for transport and environment,on the dredging of the lower Niger.
The commissioners were from Niger, Kogi, Anambra, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Bayelsa.
He said that the contract for the project has since been signed and the contractors already mobilised.
"The project, because of its peculiarities, has been divided into five lots using natural boundaries. Work on these lots is expected to commence next month," Bio said.
According to him, the dredging project will cut across the eight states passing through 152 communities.
He said that the Federal Government had decided to collaborate with the states to make the project a success.
The minister urged the governments of the affected states to ensure that the project was not unnecessarily hindered by restive youths.
Bio said that the dredging of the River Niger, which would cover 572 kilometres would be handled by five consultants and five contractors.
He said the benefits of the project could not be quantified, adding that it would accommodate the construction of modern Inland ports at Baro, Idah and Lokoja.
The project, he said, would also accommodate the completion and rehabilitation of Onitsha Port and the construction of River Training Works.
Bio said that the project would accommodate maintenance of the Niger after completion of the capital dredging and construction of Gulu-Baro
road to provide access to Abuja.
He said that the project when completed would also create distinct navigational channel and the closing of secondary and non-viable channels.
"It is obvious that this project when completed will ensure cheaper and safer means of transportation,"he said.
Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa, the Acting Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), had earlier said the proposed dredging of the Niger had been on the drawing board since the 1960s.
Meanwhile, a community relations committee headed by Mr Kunle Folarin has been set up to sensitise the affected communities on the benefits of the project.
The contract for the dredging was signed in December 2008.| Article source