At the end of its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council, FEC approved the award of various dredging and reclamation contracts worth about N8 billion.

Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information told journalists that the contracts include construction of an inland River Port at Jamata, Lokoja.

The minister noted that there was no port currently in Lokoja, despite the recent dredging of the lower River Niger.

He added that the construction of the port at the community is necessary if Nigeria is to take full advantage of the recent dredging of the lower River Niger.

The contract for the construction of an Inland River Port was awarded to Inter-Bau Construction Ltd., in the sum of N4, 112,346,572 and is expected to be completed within 57 weeks. The project when completed, he said, will open up the hinterland to the Coastal Ports and ease the process of evacuation of agricultural produce, petroleum products, bulk cargoes and also distribution of essential imports.

It will also increase employment and improve socio-economic development.

In the same vein, the Federal Executive Council also approved the award of a contract for the dredging of Channel along Orashi River from Oguta Lake to Degema in Imo/Rivers States.

The dredging, which Maku said was designed to boost inland water transportation, also includes disposal of dredged materials in and around the River to construct a navigation channel that would accommodate vessels with drafts of to 1.5m while excess dredged material will be used to create beaches and fill depressed sections.

He added that the projects will create 90 professional and non-professional job opportunities for Nigerians during its execution.

The contract for the project was awarded to Messrs Evomec Global Services Limited, in the sum of N2,128,466,655 with a completion period of eight months.

Also, the Federal Executive Council approved another contract for the shore Protection/Dredging Reclamation Works at Selected Sites along River Niger.

The project when completed, Maku said, will prevent the continuous erosion of community lands and destruction of properties; ensure the restoration and reclamation of degraded berthing areas and community markets, create fresh employment opportunities; and promote socio-economic activities in affected communities.

The project, according to the Information Minister, will also create 282 professional and non-professional job opportunities.

Contract for the project is awarded to Messrs Evomec Global Services Limited, in the sum of N2,128,466,655, with a completion period of 8 months.