Nigerian government approves fund to combat maritime insecurity

David Adekunle, Lagos

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

The Nigerian Government has approved $186 million as part of efforts to combat piracy in Nigerian waters as well as N100m for the dredging of the River Niger.

The Minister of Transportation said in Lagos during a one-day national conference on fast-tracking port reforms with the theme: ‘Making Nigerian Seaports World Class.

Mr. Amaechi noted that the $186m Dollars approved for the fight against piracy will be used to buy three helicopters and three aircraft.

According to him, “Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved $186million Dollars to fight piracy in our waters. The funds will be used to buy three helicopters, three aircrafts, 12 vessels stationed in the water, 20 APC. In the next three months, all of this will be deployed to fight piracy in our waters.

“We promised change. Change is not talked about, it is felt. That is why we asked that the people should give us time.”
The Transport Minister who spoke on the recently launched dredging of the River Niger explained that N100m had been budgeted for the dredging of the project against the N34bn paid by the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for the same project.\

“When the River Niger was first approved for dredging by the previous administration, it was approved for N47billion and N34billion was paid to the contractor.

“We are not dredging the River Niger with billions of Naira, we are dredging the River Niger with just N100m.

The Minister explained that the River Niger would be dredged 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 wit private dredgers while NIWA’s dredgers were lying idle somewhere in Port Harcourt.

“The NIWA MD told me the agency has dredgers, but its been hired out to somebody in Port Harcourt. So we had dredgers, but the previous administration hired it out to some persons in Port Harcourt, while paying a contractor billions of Naira to use privately owned dredgers at a very high coat.

“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,” Amaechi added.
Nnenna.O