By Albert Akota Abuja
The Acting Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Danladi Ibrahim has said that Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro Sea ports would soon come into operation with 2000 direct and indirect jobs to be created.
Ibrahim who disclosed this in an interview said the body would work assiduously in providing infrastructure in the ports by working with critical stakeholders in order to connect ports with rail.
According to him, NIWA has achieved alot since 2015 when the development of inland waterways
system in Nigeria was accelerated, the body has changed the face of Nigerian inland waterways in the sense that the organization has embarked on direct maintenance dredging of channels maintaining the waterways unlike the previous practice.
“We have completed one of our major port in Baro, and the one in Lokoja is almost 75 percent completed, beside that we have also programme channel management in River Niger and Makurdi Port in Benue, our expectations are to use 2018 budget to complete lokoja port also to start the actual river training works of Baro to Lokoja, we are also going to buy batches to start moving cargoes from Lagos port to Onitsha and Baro.
“We are going to buy additional dredgers to enhance our capacity for in-house maintenance dredging of the channels, the port will be completed before the end of the year, as soon as the budget implementation start, we will swing into action, Onitsha has been concessioned already, so operations will start any moment from now, we will also complete Oguta port in Imo state before the end of the year.
“We are looking at Lokoja, Oguta ports to be completed in 2018 but in 2019 we will commence the Makurdi port, we will develop that port as the needs arise in phases.
“When Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro ports come into operation, more than 2000 direct and indirect jobs will be created because the operations of these ports would attract infrastructure like thame farms, the port will be connected with rail, companies like Dangote and Bua company.
“The dredging maintenance from Ajeokuta-Onisha will be done this year as soon as the budget is ready for implementation, we just completed the maintenance dredging from Baro to Idah in Kogi state and we are acquiring additional two dredgers from our 2018 budget and every year we will be adding until we have a pull of sufficient number of dredgers that we can maintain, “he said.