The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has said that the dredging of the Lower Rivers Niger and Benue will provide over 2 million direct and indirect jobs to Nigerians upon completion.

The project is expected to aid the handling of some major exports from that region and imports from the coastal areas as well as boost the federal government’s diversification initiatives.

This disclosure was made by Bello during the inauguration of the commencement of the hydrographic survey and charting of the Lower Rivers Niger and Benue; from Lokoja to Burutu, on Thursday, according to NAN.

What the Kogi State Governor is saying

The governor in a statement issued in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Onogwu Mohammed, praised the Federal Government’s economic diversification, job creation efforts.

Bello was also full of commendation for  the initiative, which was birthed by the Private Public Partnership of Nigeria Export-import Bank in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

He said, “These Rivers; Niger and Benue have remained one of the most critical natural assets that held good prospects for economic diversification in Nigeria. I, however assure Kogites and Nigerians while that at the end of this survey and charting project, various inland and river ports along the coast that have hitherto become moribund, would be reactivated.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria have under the Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative (PEDI) introduced several policies and programmes aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy. As well as improving the welfare, security and prosperity of Nigerian citizens and the current initiative was premised on such intention.

“This project would similarly facilitate the handling of bulk imports from the coastal areas and the export of solid minerals and agricultural produce from the hinterland. Nautical charts and other publications to be produced from this survey would support maritime security agencies to mobilise resources at a critical place and time of choice for the attainment of set national security objectives.’’

Bello urged various stakeholders to seize this golden and historic opportunity to work harmoniously and assiduously towards the completion of this important national survey within the shortest possible time.

What you should know

The dredging of the Lower River Niger and River Benue, which is being initiated by the Nigerian Navy, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Export and import (NEXIM) Bank is expected to enhance waterway port to stimulate socio-commercial activities in the country.

The project will open up the country’s inland waterways to 25 African countries and Europe in transportation and trade connectivity, Dabney Shell-Holma, Chairperson, Sealinks Consortium, one of the handlers of the project, said on Wednesday in Lokoja.