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River Niger dredging: Shippers Back Reps on Probe of NIWA, Van Oord

Posted on March 30, 2017

By Godfrey Bivbere, Niyitabiti

Chairman of Calabar Shippers’Association, Mr. Michael Ogodo, has supported efforts by the House of Representatives to investigate the dredging of the lower River Niger project which gulped billions of naira before being abandoned.

Ogodo, who spoke with Vanguard on the issue, said it was the duty of the legislature to probe any function of the executive which they consider to be abnormal.

According to Ogodo, “It is normal, whether you say check or audit or whatever, it is their constitutional duty. There is nothing unusual about it. In fact, it should be routine. They should go ahead and probe it, more so if they feel there is something illegal or that the contract was not properly awarded or should not even have been awarded in the first place.

“There can be a thousand reasons why they should decide to probe. What will they be doing with their time if they do not, from time to time, look into activities of the executive which they think should not have been done the way they were done?”

It will be recalled that the House of Representatives has also indicated its plan to investigate the establishment of land port in Idah and Jamata in Kogi State by Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited.

Mr Benjamin Okolo (APC, Dekina/Bassa) moved the motion on the floor of the House and was unanimously adopted at the plenary.

Okolo said then that 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 to Rivers state.

The law maker said the capital and maintenance for the 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.

He said the dredging of 108km from Idah to Jamata which was awarded to the same company at the cost of N13.8 billion, was skeletal.

He said that the project had reached 62 per cent completion as at 2014 but was later abandoned.

According to him, the safe alternative means of transporting goods and services through the river and cargoes entering and departing the country which the project was out to achieve was yet to see the light of the day.

Source: Niyitabiti

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