By Hauwa Ali
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has called on companies and business owners to take advantage of the dredged channel from Ajaokuta to Onitsha which is 162km in moving in or out their goods or products.
NIWA General Manager (Corporate Affairs) JibrilDarda’u who announced this in a statement issued in Lokoja on Wednesday, noted that the Federal Government has approved the transportation of goods on the dredged channel of River Niger.
According to him, a Kogi-based leading tiles manufacturing company, West African Ceramic Ltd., under the brand name — Royal — in Ajaokuta, had successfully ferried goods to Onitsha River Port in Anambra.
“Recently, West African Ceramic Limited, a leading manufacturer of tiles in Nigeria under the brand name ‘Royal’ in Ajaokuta, Kogi state, successfully moved goods (tiles) worth twenty-two trailers to Onitsha River Port.
“This is a feat the Federal Government has achieved owing to its efforts at dredging the river Niger over the years toward improving transportation in the country.
“West African Ceramic Ltd. took advantage of the dredged channel of River Niger in conveying the quantum of tiles to Onitsha for marketing purposes.
“The goods were successfully loaded on a Barge M.V Vega, owned by the company using tugboat piloted by NIWA onboard crew with escort from Inland Waterways police for adequate security.
“Likewise, on returning to Ajaokuta, the Barge carried laterite, a major raw material for the production of tiles that is worth 27 articulated vehicles for the company,” he said.
He explained that the distance between Ajaokuta and Onitsha is 162km on the channel of River Niger, which was successfully covered by the barge to and from with the goods without any hindrance.
According to him, West African Ceramic Ltd. has pledged to continue to take advantage of the dredged channel from Ajaokuta to Onitsha in moving all its products, because it is cheaper and safer.