The Federal Government yesterday called on private organisations to invest in navigational activities along the waterways stretching some 8,600km from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State.
He said the dredged Lower River Niger which is almost near complete stage, except that of the Lot 5 in Baro, the project would have been 100 percent complete.
The inland waterway according to him stretches from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State, cutting across six states of Kogi, Anambra, Imo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa with a total length of 572 kilometers.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Edugie Abebe, made the declaration in a keynote address to Stakeholders Conference on the Economic Benefits of the Dredged Lower River Niger in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Acknowledging the hurdles before the eventual completion of the project, the Minister said.
The determined effort of the Federal Government to achieve the dredging the waterways, he said started in September 2009, and today the government has been able to prove to the world that transportation in the country’s waterways is possible throughout the year.
The completion of the project, according to Suleiman was made possible through the effort of President Goodluck Jonathan in collaboration with the governors of the states who bought into the vision of creating a transportation artery at the centre of the country to boost the development of the economy through improved transport system.
He said “It is in view of these potentials that the present administration embarked on the dredging of the lower River in order to open up the hinterland through the effective utilization of the River Niger as a means of inland water transportation in Nigeria. Suleiman stated that in order to ensure navigation of vessels an ferries along the dredged channels government also considered the construction of River Ports at Lokoja, Oguta lake, Degema, Onitsha, Owerrinta Jetty, Ndoni Jety, Idah and Baro.
In his remark, the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Ibrahim Idris who was represented by the Commissioner of Lands and Housing, Mr. Abubakar Adamu commended the Federal Government that thought it necessary to dredge the River Niger from Baro to the Creeks of the Niger Delta,adding that more so as the first face of the contract was completed in record time.
He added that the two river ports located in Kogi will help in transforming the economy state by making the state as catalyst to the several economic activities along the river.
He pleaded with the Federal Government to initiate moves towards the completion of these ports. He said the State government has issued a certificate of occupancy to the Federal Government a plot of land along the River Niger for a Greenfield refinery and another for the establishment of the Naval Base and an outpost in the State.