River Niger Dredging Project – National Inland Waterways

FAQ on The Lower River Niger Dredging Project

Attempts have been made to dredge the Lover River Niger in 1958 and in 1978. In 1996, the Federal Military Government approved the dredging project, covering 572 kilometers from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State; and construction of three (3) River Ports in Baro, Idah and Lokoja. Work has commenced at the Lokoja River Port, and efforts are being made to rehabilitate the Onitsha River Prot.
The contracts were awarded to six contractors with the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund as the funding Agency. As a result of the project implementation failure, the contracts were revoked b ythe Federal Executive Council, which directed that the entire  project procurement be started all over again. This led to signing of a new contract on December 1st, 2008 involving five supervising consultants in addition to the four contractors.
The contract is currently at the implementation stage with advance payments made. In the next few pages, we have tried to answer questions that are frequently asked by the general public in respect of the dredging of the Lower River Niger.

The details of this project can be found in the links below:






Questions and answers

1. What does NIWA stand for?

National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is a Parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transport. It is in-charge of Inland Waterways branch of Water Transport. The Authority is also in-charge of planning, monitoring, regulating and advising the FGN on all Inland Waterways activities nationwide.

2. When  was NIWA established?

NIWA was established in 1997 as a Parastatal from the erstwhile (old Marine) Inland Waterways Department (IWD) of the Federal Ministry of Transport, which itself was established in 1956.

3. What are the basic functions of NIWA?

Regulation, planning and management of all Inland Waterways Activities.

4. What is dredging?

Moving by means of excavation or suction equipment of sand or rock particles from underwater (sea, river, lake, etc) to another location.

5. Why do we need to dredge the Lower River Niger?

To fulfil the mandate of the National transport Policy regarding inland waterways transportation in respect of: (a) achieving its quota of intermodal transport of persons and cargoes in Nigeria (b) promoting navigation on inland waterways and riverrine commerce (c) providing a year-round navigation of the river (d) promoting public and private sector activities and investment in the near future, etc.

6. When last was the lower River Niger dredged?

In the 1977/1978 LCCF Dredging Campaign.

7. When was the contract for the Lower River Niger signed?

1st December, 2008.

8. How many Lots is the contract divided into?

Five (5) Lots

9. Who are the Contractors?

Messers Fung Tai Nigeria Limited         – Lot 1 Messers

Dredging International             – Lot 2

Messrs Van Oord                                 – Lot 3

Messrs Van Oord                                 – Lot 3

Messrs William Lloyds Technical          – Lot 5

10. Who are the Consultants?

1. Royal Haskoning                                    – Lot 1
2. Jayuda International Ltd              – Lot 2
3. Dredging & Marine Consultants Ltd        – Lot 3
4. Enplan Group                                         – Lot 4
5. AIM Consultants Ltd.                             – Lot 5

11. How many States and Local Government Areas are covered by the dredging of Lower River Niger?

Eight states – Delta, Bayelsa, Anambra, Edo, Kogi, Niger, Rivers and Imo States.

12. What is the cost of the contract for the dredging of the Lower River Niger?

Contract     – N 34, 806, 353, 521
Consultancy – N 1, 277, 851, 054

13. What are the basic socio-economic benefits of the dredging of the Lower River Niger?

    •  It will create employment in the affected Communities.
    •  It will promote both public/private commercial activities.
    •  It will generate and sustain industrial development within the inland waterways   maritime sub-sector.
    • It will provide jobs for the restive youths, especially in the Niger Delta and reduce militancy.
    • It will promote tourism and enhance intermodal transport system.

14. What do we mean by Capital Dredging?

Dredging to effect a major change in shape and size in the river bed and navigable channel, normally a recurrent (yearly) exercise.

15. What do we mean by river training works?

They are additional works, of civil nature that are executed concurrently with the Capital and Maintenance Dredging works to give the river hydraulic efficiency, i.e. installing marine structures levees, groynes, bottom panels, dykes to make the river self flushing (or dredging0 and stabilize its banks against erosion and degradation.

16. What do we mean by Maintenance Dredging?

Dredging to retain the geometric features of the river bed and navigable channel, normally a recurrent (yearly) exercise

17. What do we mean by de-rocking?

Breaking and removal of surface and submerged rock formations from the navigable channel.

18. What is the hydrographic survey?

It is survey work carried out in the marine environment to determine sea, lake and river-bed levels in relation to water surface levels at a particular time. Such surveys/measurement are always tied to permanent land-based marks or beacons called reference monuments.

19. What do we mean by navigational aids?

Navigational aids are objects designed and placed in the river to delineate navigable from non-navigable areas in the river. They are also used to mark immovable hazard within the navigable waterways.

20. Why do we need inland ports complement the dredging project?

We need inland ports because the river users would require intermediate stations to load and off-load persons/cargoes. The local riverine population also requires points of interface with voyagers for trading/transfer of goods to link more inland communities. These inland ports or transshipment points are therefore major position of interface between the shipping companies and the general public.

21. Is it true that the dredging will make fishing in the rivers difficult?

Constraints to fishing activities shall be of a temporary nature. Rather, increase in the depth to be achieved at the end of the dredging exercise is expected to initiate the migration of bigger fishes into the navigable channel from shallower adjoining tributaries and water bodies.

22. When will the dredging proper start?

Sometime in November 2009

23. How long will it take to complete the dredging project?

3 years for both the capital and maintenance dredging exercises

24. How will the dredging project be funded?

By the Federal Government of Nigeria

25. What do we mean by E.I.A as it affect the dredging project?

Environmental Impact Assessment: This assessment of the project is expected to highlight its positive and negative effects on the environment of boundary riverine communities.

26. What is the environmental impact mitigation?

Measures provided to cushion the effect of environmental degradation in life.

27. What will be the depth and width of the Lower River after the dredging exercise?Navigation channel shall be dredged to achieve a trapezoidal configuration;
Depth below chart datum    -  2.5m
Bottom Width                     – 60.0m
Top Width at line CD         – 100.0m

28. What is dredging Chart Datum (CD)?

Dredging Chart Datum is a measurement benchmark of the waterline established during pre-project execution period (low waters) between the months of February and March.

29. What is permissible limit?

Limit of sweeping river bed or channel.

30. What is dump Spoil?

Site used for sand dump in the course of dredging.

31. How can private sector support the project after completion?

By investing in Inland Water Transport i.e. local shipping activities, construction of landing/stevedoring of facilities/infrastructure etc.

32. Can ocean going vessels navigate the River Niger after the dredging?

No, only inland waterways crafts and barges will be able to navigate the River Niger

33. What will happen to waterways if after the dredging it is not utilized?

It will become a colossal waste of public funds. Lack of attention and interest may result in the gradual filling out of the river to status quo.

34. What mitigation measures have been put in place against negative impact of the project?

(a) Supply of potable water; (b) Construction of buildings and utilities for riverine communities; (c) reclamation of shore fronts; (d) construction of access roads.

35. Mention some target users/stakeholder of a dredged Lower Niger River?

(a) Companies in the production of iron and ore (b) Companies involved in the production/distribution of building materials/chemicals (c) Importers and exporters of containerized cargoes (d) Companies involved in trading/distribution of argo-allied materials/production (e) Companies involved in the trade/export of wood timbers and casketed products, i.e. cakes, oil, etc.

36. What plans are in place to improve security on the lover Niger River during and after the project?

The Federal, State and Local Government Authorities have finalized plans to tackle security problems

37. What is the legislative framework, if any, which in your view should be put in place to sustain recurrent dredging and ensure the active use of inland waterways in the lower Niger River in the post-capital dredging period?

A legal framework that:
(a) enforces a fair use of the various transport modes, i.e. air, water, land in their areas of comparative advantages over the other modes; (b) is structured to achieve the goals of the National Transport Policy of a cheap, safe and efficient water transport Sub-sector

38. Is the Act of the Authority a product of a State legislation?

No, it is a product of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

39. Will the Lower River Niger be navigable all the year round after the dredging?

Yes, if the maintenance dredging exercise is carried out yearly.

40. Will the dredging of the River Niger be a blessing or a curse?

It will be a tremendous blessing, if properly executed and thereafter used by our local shipping companies and the stakeholders.

Via National Inland Waterways: FAQ.

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