the nigerian river system
Nigerian's natural endowment in inland water transport (IWT) system is over 10,000km of navigable waterways. This water wealth comprise: rivers, creeks, lagoons and lakes, and intra-coastal waters. The main rivers are Rivers Niger and Benue. Both rivers form a confluence at Lokoja, in Kogi State.
River Niger is the longest river in West Africa, and eleventh longest river in the world. The river and its main tributary (River Benue), the delta creeks as well as the lagoons bordering the coast form the principal navigable waterways in Nigeria. These principal navigable waterways are the major transportation routes linking Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne and Calarbar seaports. Through the lagoon and delta creeks a transport route is established between the hinterland and urban centres of Nigeria on River Niger as far as Niamey in the Republic of Niger and Garua in Cameroon on River Benue.
the business opportunity
With inland navigable waterways of about 3,000km and an extensive coastland of about 852km, Nigeria has a great potential in the movement of goods from the coast to the hinterland by water transport. The country’s waterways centre on the Rivers Niger and Benue dissect Nigeria into east, west, and north sections. The two rivers run into each other at Lokoja and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The coastal waterways extend from Badagry through Warri to Calabar.
The waterways transport bulk goods over long distances at very low rates thus, an efficient coastal and inland waterway system relieves pressure on a country’s rail and road transport infrastructure.
The Nigerian inland waterways have great potentials. The areas adjacent to the rivers are major agricultural areas. Agricultural products from the middle belt areas can be transported to the delta areas through the waterways and verse versa. The importation of raw materials through the ports in the delta areas for use at the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which is a major industrial center on the Niger, will benefit from the importation and export of cargo movement by the waterways.
The following are the some current opportunities for NIWA:
- Boat construction
- Dockyard services/management
- Dredging works
- Engineering construction
- Hydropower generation
- Hydrographic survey
- Oil & gas exploration including support services
- Transportation (runs and cruises by modern inland river crafts)
- Underwater engineering services
- Water supply
Inadequate Funding for Projects:
Inadequate funding in terms of Government appropriations over the years which have been paltry and grossly inadequate. This affects the implementation and realization of the Capital Projects, Community hostilities especially in the Niger Delta area to both private and government operators within the inland waterways which has drastically affected activities as well as our revenue generation efforts, slow response from Oil and other associated companies in paying their dues and tariffs, Overlapping areas of jurisdiction and conflicts of duties between NIWA and other Agencies e. NIMASA, NPA, Solis Governments, (e.g Lagos State), Inadequate manpower requirement, development and training especially professionals needed to implement the regulatory functions effectively, jurisdictional conflicts with some Federal Government Ministries, Parastatals, States and Local Governments.
Insecurity On the Waterways:
Disruption of operations of river transport, oil and gas service companies by restive youth in the Niger Delta, Piracy and kidnapping, illegal bunkering, Pipeline vandalization, Grounding of socio-economic activities in riverine communities, Water hyacinth infestation, Blocked water transport routes and Unsafe waterways.