From Emmanuel Adeyemi Lokoja

The Chief of Naval Staff , Vice Admiral  Awwal  Zubairu  Gambo  has expressed hope that the survey and charting of lower Rivers Niger and Benue  will open up economic activities in  the coastal areas of the country

He said  survey and  nautical chart will  help to  link Nigeria to  other regional and western countries ,promote import and export trades and  enhance the diversification of the economy thereby creating job opportunities  for Nigerians.

The Chief of Naval Staff  disclosed this while  speaking at the flag off of the Survey and Charting of the lower rivers Niger and Benue at Julius Berger Jetty of the Ajaokuta-steel  on Wednesday.

The  Nigerian Navy and the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA in partnership with Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM ) Wednesday commenced  the hydrographic  survey and Charting of the Lower Rivers of the Niger and Benue.

He said the two rivers Niger and Benue  served as economic enablers of the colonial masters and expressed worry that Nigeria has not been able to make maximum use of the rivers since the colonial masters left

He assured that the Department of Hydrographic of Nigerian Navy  will carry out the technical aspect of the survey and charting according to best global practices

In his address on the occasion, the managing director of National inland waterways authority, Dr George Moghalu said the project was inspired by the Sealink Implementation Committee and funded by the NEXIM Bank.
In his words:
|” like to express my joy on the eventual flag-off of this project. For NIWA, this project is a welcome development as it gives a major impetus to the Authority’s efforts towards the rapid development of inland water transportation in Nigeria.

“The objective of the Sealink Project, which is to provide and deepen direct maritime linkages within Nigeria and between African countries, thereby catalysing Nigeria’s gross domestic product growth, attraction of foreign direct investments, creating highly needed jobs, and boosting internal and intra-African trade among others is quite noble and in tandem with the statutory responsibilities and objectives of the Authority.

“It is my hope that this project will inspire other private sector investors to see the abundant opportunities in the Nigerian Inland Waterways Transportation (IWT) sector.

“I will like to thank h the Minister of transportation, RT Hon Rotimi Amaechi and the NEXIM Bank for providing the much needed funds for the execution of this project.

” One of the major challenges of Inland Waterways Transportation (IWT) development in Nigeria is the paucity of funds to attend to the numerous inland water transportation projects competing for attention at the same time.

‘The intervention of NEXIM Bank and the Sealink Project has helped the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA accelerate the development of the Inland Water Transportation (IWT). ” He added

Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello who performed the flag off urged the ajaokuta community and all other host communities to give maximum cooperation for the timely completion of the project

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Source: news