CEM REPORT, SECURITY | The Nigerian Navy has unveiled the “Navigational Charts of Lower Niger River”, a project by the NEXIM Bank.
The chart which covers a total distance of 594KM (321 Nautical Miles) with a total survey area of 1719.8 Square Kilometers details phases one and two of the project, which extends from Lokoja in Kogi State to Burutu in Delta State.
The charts are products of the Joint hydrographic survey of the Lower River Niger carried out by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office and the National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA).
This project was promoted by the Sealink Promotional Company Limited with funding from the NEXIM Bank and the African Export-Import Bank”.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said the joint hydrographic survey campaign by NEXIM Bank in partnership with the Nigerian Navy, Sealink Consortium and National Inland Waterways Authority, was flagged-off on November 24, 2021.
He added that the project is aimed at boosting trade, broadening the national export potentials, enhancing bulk export capabilities as well as ensuring Nigeria’s effective intra- African participation.
He noted that the unveiling of the chart attests to the commitment of the federal government towards evolving comprehensive mechanisms to emplace sustainable infrastructure through Public Private Partnership collaborations noting that the project was a preliminary step towards opening the Lower River Niger.
“Undoubtedly, unveiling these charts is crucial towards exploitation of the vast strategic reserve of mineral resources along the Lower Niger Basin with great prospects for Nigerian’s economic diversification.
“This is expected to boost tourism potentials, create more job opportunities and increase economic viability. It would also reduce pressure on road infrastructure, as bulk cargos would be transported through the channel”, he said.
“Furthermore, the successful opening of this River Channel for navigation will accelerate the activation of concessioned inland ports and export processing zones for handling bulk cargoes from coastal areas and export of solid minerals as well as agricultural produce.”
“I would like to assure this audience that the Nigerian Navy is willing to sustain partnership with NEXIM Bank, Sealink Consortium and the National Inland Waterways Authority including other critical stakeholders under this collaborative initiative to complete the development of the river channel towards creating vibrant maritime activities along the Lower River Niger basin”
Giving further details on the project, the Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral CE Okafor, disclosed that in l the course of charting the route, the crew discovered 81 underwater features that may be dangerous for navigation including four wrecks, 16 underwater obstructions, 16 rocks and called for dredging canalisation and installation of appropriate aids for navigation.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Afreximbank, Prof Benedict Uramah, represented by Remmy Nwachukwu, said Afrexim bank is proud to have played a significant part in making the Charting possible.
“We provided a grant of USD350,000 for this exercise because of the critical role we know that navigability of the river Niger will play in the country’s trade facilitation and indeed overall developmental aspirations.
“Our financing has not only been in support of trade but also trade enabling infrastructure such as ports, railways, airports and aeroplanes as well as power and telecommunications facilities. In Nigeria, Afreximbank has made cumulative disbursements of up to USD36 billion since inception with around USD4 billion in current exposure”, he said.