Lokoja — The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says the Federal Government has not abandoned the proposed inland port in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
Managing Director, NIWA, Arc. Aminu Ahmed Yar'adua, who stated this at the weekend during an interactive session with journalists in Lokoja, said the project was stalled as a result of the legal battle between NIWA and the former company handling it.
According to him, after terminating the contract with the former company handling the job based on non performance, the company dragged them to court. He added that government has re-awarded the contract to another company at a new location in Akpanya village.
He said work has already commenced at the site, and that based on the contractual agreement, work is expected to be completed in October 2014, while the remaining ports where work has been on-going are expected to be completed in March next year.
The NIWA boss said they are already working with some private companies to put the dredged channels into commercial use, adding that they already have a 45-seater passenger ferry which is expected to ply the Lokoja-Onitsha route. He said five additional ferries would be acquired for other routes as soon as possible.
Yar'adua noted that water transportation is a serious business, calling on Nigerians to take advantage of what he described as the conducive atmosphere created by NIWA to invest in the sector.
He denied allegations that the dredging of the lower River Niger compounded the recent flooding in some parts of the state, saying flood was a natural disaster globally.