By Ignatius Ushie

Infinity Tyres

The Federal Government has given assurances that it is working assiduously to ensure that soon, Inland waterways will be developed enough to move cargoes by barges to their ports of destination. In a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo gave the assurance at the recent 2022 Ministerial Retreat in Uyo, Awka Ibom State.

According to him, “We want to make sure that Inland waterways transportation is developed in such a way that movement of containers and other cargoes by barges from Lagos through the intra-coastal routes to hinterlands will become the new normal,” Sambo said.

The Minister said to make that possible, it will involve clearing the waterways and fortunately, the Ministry has found a company that is ready to do that sometime in November, this year, adding that “We have a dream in the Ministry to move containers from Marina in Lagos to Onitsha in Abambra State and even to Baru in Niger State. That will entail channalization and channel management of the routes from Lagos through the intra-coastal routes to land rivers up to Onitsha along the river Niger up to Baro,” the Minister informed. 

On the issue of the Costal Railway line that should run from Lagos to Calabar, the Minister said what is stalling it is funds as the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), Contractor handling the project is unable to provide the 85% of its counterpart funding while Nigeria is to provide 15%. 

He, however gave the assurance that the Ministry has identified an investor that is willing to provide the funds and the Ministry is in talks on how to share the works between the investor and CCECC, the initial contractor. 

On the importance of the Coastal line, Sambo notes: “The Coastal line is a very important line because it connects all the port cities of Nigeria. If you connect all the port cities by rail, you will then be able to open up the Eastern Ports as well so that goods that come from the ports will naturally go upland”.