SAN FRANCISCO, May 05, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is spending only N100m on the dredging of the River Niger which the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan could not deliver despite spending N34bn on the project.
He made this disclosure on Thursday in Lagos at a conference on Fast-tracking Port Reforms, hosted by The Nation newspaper in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
According to the minister, “When the River Niger was first approved for dredging by the previous administration, it was approved for N47bn and N34bn was paid to the contractor. Dancers were called in and there was a party.
“We are not dredging the River Niger with billions of naira; we are dredging the River Niger with just N100m. When we flagged it off recently, did you see us dancing? Was there a party? I just went to see the governor and told him that the project will start today and will be finished in one month.
“The governor said he will accompany me, and I said ‘ok’. So, I asked the governor to flag it off since it’s located in his state.”
Reacting to concerns over how the government plans to carry out the dredging exercise with N100m as against the N47bn earmarked for same by the Jonathan government, the former Rivers State governor said the government would not employ the services of private dredgers.
His words, “We are going to dredge the River Niger, using dredgers owned by the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA. NIWA has dredgers, but the previous government preferred to give contractors money to dredge the river with private dredgers while NIWA’s dredgers were lying idle somewhere in Port Harcourt.
“The NIWA MD told me the agency has dredgers, but it’s been hired out to somebody in Port Harcourt. So, we had dredgers, but the previous administration hired them out to some persons in Port Harcourt while paying a contractor billions of naira to use privately owned dredgers at a very high cost.
“I told the NIWA MD that I will look for money to fuel their dredgers, and work has started. That is why we are dredging the River Niger with just N100m.”
Source: The Nigerian Voice (local news)