Danladi Ibrahim, Acting Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, says the ongoing construction of Lokoja, Oguta River ports will be completed before the end of 2018.
Ibrahim, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said the Lokoja port was 75 per cent completed while Oguta port, in Imo, was 70 per cent completed.
He said: “We are looking at Lokoja, Oguta ports to be completed in 2018. We have also completed one of our major ports in Baro.
“The two ports will be completed before the end of the year. As soon as the budget implementation starts, we will swing into action.”
He said by 2019, the agency would commence the Makurdi port, adding that new ports would be developed as the need arises.
Ibrahim said that the agency was going to buy equipment in batches to start moving cargoes from Lagos port to Onitsha and Baro.
According to him, when the Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro river ports commence operation, they will create over 2000 jobs.
He said: “By the time Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro ports come into operation, more than 2000 jobs will be created because the operations of these ports will attract infrastructure.
“The port will be connected to rail, companies like Dangote and Bua will also be handy to utilise these ports.”
The NIWA boss, however, said that the dredging maintenance from Ajaokuta-Onitsha would be done as soon as allocation in the 2018 budget was released .
He said that the agency had embarked on direct maintenance dredging of its channels, which was a very cheap way of maintaining the waterways unlike the previous practice.
Ibrahim said the maintenance of the dredging from Baro to Idah in Kogi state was recently completed.
He said: “We are acquiring additional two dredgers from our 2018 budget and every year we will be adding, until we have a pool of sufficient number of dredgers that we can maintain.
“We are getting the additional dredgers to enhance our capacity for in-house maintenance dredging of the channels.”
He said Onitsha port had been concessioned, “so operations will start any moment from now”.