Dredging of Benue River to end 2017

Yemisi Izuora
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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has assured said the dredging of the Lower River Benue, awarded at a cost N26 billion, would be completed in two years.

Mr Danladi Ibrahim, Acting Managing Director of the agency made the disclosure when he visited the Lagos Area Office of NIWA, as maritime activities closed on Friday.

He said the contract was awarded to Messrs Oyins Oil and Gas Ltd.
“We have awarded the dredging of Lower River Benue to the tune of N26 billion.

“Also, the dredging of the Lower River Niger is completed and quite a number of boats and jetties are under construction.

“We are all aware that we have completed the Onitsha river port and it will be concessioned to the private sector to operate anytime from now.

“Baro is 95 per cent completed; Lokoja is about 50 to 60 per cent as well as Oguta port. We have awarded the construction of Makurdi river port and any moment from now it will take off,” he said.

Ibrahim also said that NIWA would colllaborate with the riverine states to maintain efficient inland waterways services in the country.

He said that to checkmate over-loading and over-speeding, a code of operation would soon be gazetted and enforced to regulate inland waterways traffic.

Also during the week, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said the Federal Government had not lifted the ban on the importation of furniture items into the country.

Mr Victor Gbemudu, the Zonal Co-ordinator and an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Zone `A’, described the report as false, adding that he was quoted out of context.

Gbemudu, however, advised importers, their agents and freight forwarders to refer to the import guidelines, which states that the ban on furniture is still in force.

In the course of the week, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said it would audit the operations of private terminal operators to attain efficiency.

The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to Ports and Cargo Handling Services Ltd, the port operations arm of the Sifax Group.

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