Lying idle for more than three years of dredging completion from Baro in Niger State to Warri in Delta State, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has begun a campaign designed to encourage private sectors to invest in ferries and barges.
It would be recalled the former administration had completed the dredging of the 572-km from Baro in Niger State to Warri in Delta State since 2011 but utilization remained poor wmen compared to the amount spent on the project.
The Corporate Affairs Manager of NIWA, Tayo Fadile, in an interview urged manufacturers along the corridor to emulate the West African Ceramic Company, Ajaokuta, Kogi State, which he said had put barges on the river to move its products to different parts of the country.
Fadile said that there was the need to up the movement of goods and services on the river so that the country could reap maximum benefits from the project.
According to him, NIWA has embarked on the sensitization of stakeholders and wooing private sector operators to invest in inland waterways either individually or on Public Private Partnership basis.
He said that NIWA had constructed inland river ports and jetties along the river as part of efforts to make it attractive to investors and users.
Fadile said that the organisation had also put in place safety and security measures to protect goods and passengers and ensure all year-round navigation on the river.
Further investigations by our correspondent show that contrary to rumours that shipping activities is ongoing at the reconstructed Onitsha port, no ship hard berth on the habour carrying goods. Currently, only sand dredgers are driving water business in Onitsha or Asaba instead of movement of goods using the dredged river.