The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said certain powerful interests are behind the inability of successive governments to implement the dredging of the River Niger and other water ways in Nigeria.
The Speaker disclosed this when he received the new Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Olorunimbe Mamora, in Abuja.
He said although he had taken up the issue of implementation of the national transport master plan in the last three years, his efforts has not yielded the desired results, due largely to sabotage from within the maritime sector.
“At a point, I was told that the Chinese had handed down a negative verdict on the project that it was not feasible. I know some people in the sector are of the opinion that we don’t need the inland waterways here. But that’s an irony.
“Baro in Niger State had been identified as the hub. Being serviced by a railway linked to Minna, all you need do is construct a road and airport to link the Atlantic Ocean via the River Niger. But some people in the sector do not want the initiatives to succeed,” Dogara remarked.
The Speaker said it was in realization of the importance of the sector that the House of Representatives passed the NIWA (amendment) Bill, which is awaiting the Senate’s concurrence.
According to him, the essence of the amended bill was to do away with moribund laws, and enable the multi-billion Naira sector to achieve its core mandates.
In response, Mamora commended the Speaker for his efforts, adding that he was in the House to solicit legislative support for the NIWA amendment bill.