The House of Representative Committee on Marine Transport has warned contractors handling the lower River Niger dredging to stick to the contract agreement and deliver as at when due.
Ugwuanyi, who represents Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State gave the warning shortly a recent tour of the river. He opined that the maritime sector of the economy has to move to the next level and urged the contractors to work within the stipulated time in the agreement.
The legislator argued that because of the importance of the river to the Eastern part of the country all hands must be on deck to ensure completion of the lower River Niger dredging project.
"The Onitsha river port is very strategic to South Eastern business. Already, the Onitsha river port has fully rehabilitated waiting to be commissioned and concessioned to willing concessionaires. Therefore, we cannot afford to allow the contractor handling the project to go to sleep", he said.
Meanwhile, another member of the Committee, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Ebo, has said that any contractor found wanting concerning the dredging of River Niger would be dealt with according to the law. The legislator stated this when he raised a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Ebo expressed displeasure that more than two years after the contract was awarded, no significant work has been done, and frowned at the fact that, six months to the expiration of the contract maintenance dredging has not started.
His words: "Two years after the time line for the completion of the dredging of the River Niger, the River Niger has not been completely dredged. You should understand that dredging encompasses two aspects. One is the capital dredging and the other one is the maintenance dredging.
"What we have seen so far is not palatable. From our findings, some of the dredging is properly done, while some parts are not well done but the job is complete. They are still working on the maintenance dredging. As soon as we are told that the maintenance dredging is okay, we will be able to certify it okay.
"For now you cannot even move too freely particularly when you get to lot five. From Jimeta to Baro is still very okay but the last time we came from Baro, it was terrible. Indeed, the situation was very terrible so we find it difficult to understand exactly whether maintenance dredging is going on or not.
As we were coming also you could also see that we could not see a single dredging machine doing any maintenance dredging, maintenance is suppose to be a continuous thing for two years and government has provided some money running into billion for that purpose and yet we are not seeing anything on ground as an evidence of work done", he added.