After years of promises and little progress, Nigeria is finally making progress on developing its rivers to handle containers and other goods
The river port of Baro in Niger State has just opened and two more - Lokoja in Kogi State and Oguta in Imo State - are to open by the end of this year. The acting managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Danladi Ibrahim, has stated that construction work on them is 75% and 70% complete respectively. Work is due to start on the Pott of Makurdi in Benue State next year.
NIWA is to purchase barges to transfer cargo between the Lagos ports and Onitsha and Baro; and also two dredgers to provide in-house maintenance dredging.
NIWA’s spokesman Jibril Dardau added: “Besides that, we have also put in programmes for the channel management of Rivers Niger and Benue....and also intend to start the actual river training works between Baro and Lokoja.”
NIWA is working alongside the Nigerian Navy in order to provide patrols to tackle crime on the inland waterways. Most the river ports are supposed to be connected to the national rail network, but this will depend on the railways being developed as planned. The federal government says that work is to begin on the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor this month.