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Did the multi billion naira River Niger dredging actually take place?

The main aim of the former late President Umaru Musa Ya’Adua to dredge River Niger was to encourage inland waterway transport, but barely 11 years after the contract and almost eight years after acclaimed delivery, no activity of the inland waterway had or is taking place on the stretch.

The scenario therefore raises the question of what actually took place. Was it actual dredging as claimed by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration or a successful special purpose vehicle to launder money.

This may have been the pivot upon which the House of Representatives on Wednesday agreed to investigate the dredging of the lower River Niger from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Kogi State.

The motion for the investigation moved by Benjamin Okolo (APC-Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency) was unanimously adopted at the plenary.

Okolo said the project to dredge the lower River Niger was an important and strategic action initiated by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

He said the project which stretches through 572km, would affect 152 communities on the bank of the River Niger from Edo, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Kogi, Niger and Rivers.

The lawmaker said the contract for dredging of 118km from Onitsha to Idah was awarded to Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited at the cost of N10.4 billion.

Okolo alleged that the work on the said project never took-off till date, revealing that the dredging of 108km from Idah to Jamata which was awarded to the same company at the cost of N13.8 billion was never delivered till date.

According to him, the project had started as at 2014 but was later abandoned and no question was asked or answered on the matter till date.

In ruling, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Ports and Waterways to investigate the matter and report to the house within four weeks for further actions.

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