Monarch seeks revival of Kogi’s river port
The Maigarin of Lokoja in Kogi State, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Maikarfi III, has expressed displeasure over the inactivity of waterway transport in the state capital, saying the development accounts for the current ghost status of the confluence city.
The paramount ruler, while speaking with The Guardian also decried the loss of job opportunities caused by the inactivity and urged the Federal Government to revive inland waterway transportation to bring back the good old days.
It would be recalled that Lokoja rose to prominence when the Europeans arrived in the 60s and explored great use of the two waterways in West Africa as a major inland port for their companies, thus creating jobs for the youths.
The Maigarin who noted that the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue gave Lokoja economic advantage with light ships coming to berth, added that people at the time could travel by water to Makurdi, Baro and as far as Adamawa.
According to him, during the period, there was nothing like the dredging of the Niger and yet light cargoes plied the waterways with ease, bringing goods from Europe directly to Lokoja.
The monarch believes that if the water transport was revived, it would impact positively on economic activities and address security challenges in the area.
He explained that the move would also decongest the roads and boost government’s economic diversification agenda since more companies would go into shipping of goods and farmers expand their productivity.
The ruler wondered why it made better impact as Inland Waterways than now when it has taken the status of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
“The UAC, John Holt and the French company ships used to berth in Lokoja,” he recalled.
He, however, expressed confidence in the new managing director, Mr. Boss Gida and his team to turn around the agency.
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