03 September 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – In a bid to maintain constant level of high waters on the River Niger, the Federal Government has concluded plans to set up a channel management firm to make the Onitsha and other river ports to be functional all years round.
Speaking at the commissioning of the River Ports in Onitsha in Anambra State last week, Transport Minister Senator Idris Umar said that the channel management project is being put together so as to ensure the sustainability of the dredged channel of the Lower River Niger.
The Minister disclosed that the channel management firm will also ensure that the channels leading to some rivers ports under construction including, Baro in Niger State and Jamata/Lokoja in Kogi State are maintained .
“In order to ensure the sustenance of the dredged channel of the Lower River Niger, the Federal Government intends to set up a Channel Management Company in partnership with the Private Sector.
“The process for the appointment of the consultant to prepare the Outline Business Case (OBC) is at advanced stage.
“As a further demonstration of commitment to the development of Inland Water Transportation in the country, Jetties are being constructed at Owerrinta (Imo State), Buruku (Benue State) Idah (Kogi State), Agenebode (Edo State), Pategi (kwara State), Igbokoda (Ondo State), Okrika, Ndoni and Degema (Rivers State) and Yenagoa (Bayelsa State).
“In our desire to promote inter modal operations, efforts are being made to decongest existing Sea Ports, create employment opportunities and encourage trade in the hinterland, particularly along the existing railway corridors and our landlocked neigbouring countries.
“To this end a number of Inland Container Depots (ICDs), are being constructed under PPP arrangements in Isialangwa – Abia State, Zawachiki – Kano State Funtua – Katsina State Bulunkutu- Borno State Ibadan – Oyo State respectively”.
Senator Umar further disclosed that more applications have been received from interested investors for the construction of more river ports in Gombe, Ogwashi-uku Onitsha and Nnewi adding that “ These requests are being evaluated to determine their viability”.