L-R: The Lagos Zonal General Manager (NIWA), Alhaji Sambo; the Acting Managing Director NIWA, Barr. Ibrahim Danladi and the Manager Corporate Communications, NIWA, Adetayo Fadile
By Cliffsimeon Akalonu
The Onitsha port has been concessioned and the concessioniar will soon commence operations. The Acting managing director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Barr. Danladi Ibrahim made this known in a press conference in Lagos, recently.
He said that the issue of delay on the conssesioning of the Onitsha river port was as a way of selecting best hands that will handle the job and “thank God the intervention of the CBN taking over the funding of the concession exercise which a financial date was opened on the 3rd of July 2018 and two companies have been selected to commence work anytime soon”.
The MD also stated that the Baro Port in Niger State is also completed and “its cargo handling equipment is on ground, and installation works are ongoing by a German company which will surely be ready for commissioning by Mr. President before the end of the year”.
He said it is expected that thousands of jobs will be created when the Port becomes fully functional.
According to him, NIWA is discussing with relevant authorities including the federal ministry of works and transport on the “provision of access roads to Baro river Port and that river training work of River Niger will commence this year from Baro Port to Warri”.
He also made it clear that the federal government is acquiring vessels that will move bulk cargoes from Lagos ports to Baro and Onitsha ports as there is master plan to dredge the river Benue before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, in order to expand its operation, the management of NIWA has opened new Area Offices in Minna, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Jalingo, Abeokuta and Birnin Kebbi and maintenance dredging of Ajaokuta – Onitsha Waterways is ongoing, Danladi said.
He said that the National Assembly has passed the NIWA Bill which will re-position NIWA towards the development of Nigerian Inland Waterways in line with international best practice as the bill will create room for financial independence as the agency will no longer depend on the government for financial intervention. The bill will also employ the approach of PPP for its channel management with some foreign partners.