The Minister of Transport, Mr.Yusuf Suleiman, has said that the ongoing dredging of the River Niger will be completed in November this year. A statement by the Deputy Director, Press, in the ministry, Mr.Kingsley Aghah, said that the minister disclosed this during an inspection tour of two of the five lots in Niger State.
Although the minister expressed disappointment at the slow pace of work by contractors handling the project, he, nevertheless, assured that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring the completion of the project.
The dredging of the Lower Niger, which was approved by late President Umaru Yar’ Adua, was initially scheduled for completion by June this year. While work has reached advanced stage in three lots, substantial portions of Lot 3 and 5 are yet to be completed.
The minister said, “The delay in the completion of the project is caused by the consultant handling the project . They are responsible for the lateness of the completion of the dredging project. Lot 3 (Idah to Onitsha) is delayed because the contractor Van Oord is also handling Lot 4 (Onitsha to Jamata) and because of this, it is dwelling on lot 4 to the detriment of lot 3.
“On lot 5 (Jamata-Baro) the problem encountered a design problem. While the original contract earmarked 1.6million cubic meters of sand to be dredged, the contractor William Lloyd Technical Company Nigeria Limited has dredged 900,000 cubic meters with less that 15% of the work done.
Suleiman however disclosed that the government was harmonizing some grey areas with the contractors in order to ensure that the project is completed within the November deadline
He said,” We will sit with the contractors to clear the grey areas and ensure the overall project completion before the end of the year. The capital dredging should have been completed by June this year while maintenance dredging runs for another years”.
Source: punchng, June 1, 2010;