Gov. Yahaya Bello has said that the dredging of the the Lower Rivers Niger and Benue will provide over two million direct and indirect jobs to the masses upon completion.
Bello made this known while inaugurating the commencement of the hydrographic survey and charting of the Lower Rivers Niger and Benue; from Lokoja to Burutu, on Thursday.
The governor in a statement by Mr Onogwu Mohammed, his Chief Press Secretary in Lokoja, lauded the Federal Government’s economic diversification, job creation efforts.
Bello further lauded the initiative, which was birthed by the Private Public Partnership of Nigeria Export-import Bank in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
“These Rivers; Niger and Benue have remained one of the most critical natural assets that held good prospects for economic diversification in Nigeria.
“ I, however assure Kogites and Nigerians while that at the end of this survey and charting project, various inland and river ports along the coast that have hitherto become moribund, would be reactivated.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria have under the Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative (PEDI) introduced several policies and programmes aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy.
“As well as improving the welfare, security and prosperity of Nigerian citizens and the current initiative was premised on such intention.
“This project would similarly facilitate the handling of bulk imports from the coastal areas and the export of solid minerals and agricultural produce from the hinterland.
“Nautical charts and other publications to be produced from this survey would support maritime security agencies to mobilise resources at a critical place and time of choice for the attainment of set national security objectives,” Bello said.
Bello urged various stakeholders to seize this golden and historic opportunity to work harmoniously and assiduously towards the completion of this important national survey within the shortest possible time.
He further admonished states that were contiguous to the Lower Rivers Niger and Benue to give their full support and cooperation to this historic and important Federal Government effort towards improving the lives of citizens.
The governor also assured local communities, that the opening of the Rivers would in no way distort their ancestral beliefs, cultures and traditions.
Bello explained to them that the project was rather a golden opportunity to eradicate poverty as well as improving the welfare and prosperity of your local communities.