To resuscitate inland waterways transportation in Nigeria, the Federal Government recently approved contracts to the tune of N8. 3 billion to put in place certain relevant infrastructure in some areas of the country where they are of utmost importance. By the contract, an inland river port is to be constructed in Jamata area in Lokoja, Kogi State. Awarded to Messrs Inter-Bau Construction Co Ltd, the project whose cost is N4.112 billion has a completion period of 57 weeks.
The dredging of the channel along Orashi River from Oguta Lake in Imo State to Degema, Rivers State, is expected to gulp N2.028 billion with a completion target of twelve months. The job awarded to Messrs Simidia S and I International Co, when completed, is expected to protect the sea shores as well as reclaim Aseomoku and Patani areas of Delta State, Kelebe and Okun areas in Kogi State and Ilushi in Edo State. It will cost N2.128 billion.
When the projects are completed, the hinterland areas adjoining the coastal states and more are expected to be opened for full blown economic activities in line with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. The process of evacuating agricultural produce, petroleum products, bulk cargoes and distribution of essential import items through the inland waterways will be given a boost. Federal government also envisages that the projects would stimulate increase in employment while improving the socio-economic development of the areas. The projects will also prevent the continuous erosion of community lands and destruction of property, ensure the restoration and reclamation of degraded areas and community markets. The overall effectiveness of inland waterway transportation system will be put to test while the socio-economic activities of communities will also be enhanced.