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Nigeria To Dredge Niger River - What's Your Take?

Nigeria to dredge Niger River

ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 10 (UPI) --

Nigeria began dredging hundreds of miles on the Niger River to make it navigable to transport goods from the coast to remote interior villages, officials say.

The 2,600-mile-long Niger is the third longest in Africa, starting in Guinea and flowing through Niger, Mali and along the Benin border before reaching Nigeria.

The Nigerian government says the 355-mile dredging project from Baro to Warri also will bring communities together, lessen flooding and improve water flow for hydroelectric power plants, the BBC reported Thursday. Others have contended it could harm the livelihoods of river bank dwellers, the British network said.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, speaking at a ceremony held in Lokoja to kick of the decades-in-the-making project, said the dredging would ensure “all-year-round navigability.”

“It will provide an attractive, cheaper and safer means of haulage of goods, while engendering linkages and promoting trading activities between adjoining communities,” he said.

The dredging is expected to take six to eight months.

http://mobile.timesoftheinternet.com/109423.html

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

All Rights Reserved.

Published: Thursday 10th of September 2009 06:21:27 PM

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23 answers

Delta and River no be the same thing.

I dont see anyone interfering with the Okavango delta or the Sumatran delta.

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the difference between the mississippi river and river niger is that, in the case of the mississippi, most of if not all of its connecting rivers flow into it and this its constant dredging really wouldnt affect the flow of those other rivers but in the case of the river naija for the most part it has one main channel and then breaks apart into numerous tributaries as it gets closer to the ocean to form its delta. how this two rivers are replenished is important to whatever points for or against the dredging on the niger and comparing its projected success to that of the mississippi.

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Believe me, I can relate very well with you. You should and have every right to be concerned, especially with the Nigerian factor added. But there is a difference. There are some colonial historical books that I have read that talked about British Ships navigating the Niger all the way to Lokoja. It was a seasonal thing then, and I can remember one of the explorers writing about having to make their trip back to Lagos by foot after their Ships got stuck in shallow waters.

With that being said, my concern will be more about the Dams, such as Kainji and the now proposed Niger Dams. These will have more of an effect on the river than making it deeper, which is what the dredging does. Although it is true that water tends to collect together, you should also consider that the Atlantic borders the River Niger which will keep levels maintained for a great distance. The dreging may have an initial eefect of draining some swamps, however, with one or two seasons of rain, this will level out. It will all depend on the bathemetry of the river itself though. But if there is a low and high tide, this will indicate that the topography is stable, and only the moon affects it's levels. I do not have the data to determine this.

I am currently reading up and downloaded a bunch of information regarding the Wind patterns of Nigeria. I am leaning towards a conspiracy theory by Oyinbo to reduce desertification of the North by creating artificial large water bodies that could feed the clouds from the lakes created by Ogun and Osun Dams. When you look at the locations of Abuja, and these new artificial lakes, you will see that they are strategically located to provide moisture to seed clouds that will end up at Abuja and environs. To achieve this, Lagos will have to be sacrificed, and allowed to be encroached on by the Atlantic Ocean. If this proves to be true by the confirmation of Wind patterns, then Lagos State Government needs to take note.

It is comforting to see fellow Nigerians taking time out to evaluate projects being sold to us by the so-called Almighty Oyinbos. We have many Nigerians that are experts and very capable of reading to gain the expertise. Many socalled experts also lack the vision to see the whole picture especially some of these being imported from the middle east. We should all stay on our toes and not allow the future of Nigeria to be sold out to people who are just looking for a quick buck.

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Larez your concerns about the long-term effects of damming rivers are EXACTLY the same as my thoughts on the effects of dredging rivers and thereby greatly narrowing their floodplain into what will essentially amount to a tiny gutter.   Utter devastation of the natural environment can result from both forms of interference in any river's centuries-old course or flow rate, and this tragedy will ensue with a vengeance despite the pontifications of armchair analysts and critics like myself.

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@SapeleGuy:

If you are referring to the Break-water that opens the channel to the Ports, then you have a point there. At the time of the construction there were no simulators available to test the concept. I remember as a kid that we had to walk at least 1 kilometer to get to the water at Bar Beach from where the road currently is. I guess the erosion was not as active then. However, this was like 35 years ago, and if you read about global issues, you will realize that ocean levels are rising as the Ice caps melt. This will indicate that there are many factors at play and not just the Breakwater creating the situation.

On the other side of this Break water is Takwa Bay. Judging from the complaints that I have heard from the Oil company people about the need to constantly dredge the waters there to keep it deep enough for Oil Tankers at a draft of 15 meters, it will seem to me that the sand deposits are building up on that side.

But here is the good news: I have seen recently the proposed plan of Eko atlantic City. Eko Atlantic city goes out about 2 Kilometers from current Bar Beach, which will be about the way it was back in the Early 70's. There will be Breakwaters and Sea walls. There will be channels and blue waters. This control will have reversed the issues of the break water. As a matter of fact, the end of the breakwater is the termination point of the plan. With the wave action terminating at this point, I will suggest that it balances the effects of the breakwater. Also, with today's simulation capabilities, I am sure the experts will have played out different scenarios to determine what is best.

In the United States, the US Army Corp of Engineers is basically responsible for creating and maintaining Dams and water related projects, as well as maintaining them. They have built Artificial lakes larger than some big cities in Nigeria. An example is Lake Alatoona which is North East of Atlanta (My favourite water sport lake). Lake Alatoona was created to support a Dam and reduce flooding. There was a natural valley in the area which was dammed up, However, there was a miscalculation of the Topography and it ended up swallowing about 3-5 times the projected area (lol). I mention this to note that mistakes had been made in the past, and these mistakes have allowed for better research which consequently leads to better planning.

One should never be an enemy of progress and live based on fear. Projects that could benefit man should be conceived and studied for possibilities. This is why environmental impact analysis is important today. Someone mentioned the Dam being built in Niger Republic. When I read about this, I was concerned about the impact of this Dam on the River Niger. This is a classic example of what I consider to be economic sabotage by the West against Africa. There are International rules and regulations about shared water bodies. Since the River Niger flows into Nigeria, Niger should not have a right to block it with a Dam since it does not terminate in Niger, and it flows towards Nigeria. An act like that could be considered an act of war.

If the impact analysis shows that there will be less flow from the Niger in Niger, then even Kainji dam can be threatened and there won't be enough water feeding into it. In the case of Kainji Dam, it was a feasible project because Nigeria used it to control floods, create electricity, and most importantly because the Niger terminates into the Sea within Nigeria.

This is the same case in regards to River Osun that I had previously mentioned. Osun State has no right to dam up River Osun because it does not terminate within Osun State. It is only under a despotic Military regime that this would have been possible. Ogun State and Lagos State technically have a right to blow up the Osun Dam because it has had serious adversarial effects on the Flora and Fauna down-stream from the Dam. And rather than allowing it to resume it's natural flow after the Lake biult up behind the Dam, Osun State has started channeling the water to other parts. This is clearly illegal on any level of International water use laws. Ogun State and Lagos State should take this seriously because huge changes are beginning to happen especially at Lekki Lagoon and Lekki Lake.

River Osun was the main source of the fresh water that flowed into the Lekki Lake and Lagoon. It also fed the mangroves of Ogun State all the way into Lagos State. These are now drying and dried up, and the swamp ecology is changing around the area. 10 years down the road, it could have a devastating effect if the flow is not resumed. Unless it was a planned policy to drain these mangroves for the use of the Land, it is pure ignorance to allow this to happen, and I still insist that Lagos State Governor should take this up and prevent Osun State from continuing to divert the Legitimate water of Lagos State to other areas of Osun State uncompensated.

Worst of all the effect of not having this flow from Osun River is the salination of Lekki Lagoon. River Osun and River Ogun, are the 2 main sources for keeping Lekki Lagoon fresh, and both have been dammed. This is pure sabotage to Lagos State. If the excuse was about floods, then these rivers should have been dredged and probably channeled to prevent the resilting.

Looking at this trend makes me believe that these were calculated sabotage against the growth of Lagos state. It will only take a few years for all the waters of Lagos State to become salty, and the ecological changes will be huge. From my understanding, these approvals were made under Military regimes headed by Northern leaders, which makes me wonder. With the Ocean encroaching further into Lagos and without the fresh water balance from the interior, The shores of lagos State will soon be overwhelmed by the ocean. This may have had more of an impact on the erosion of Lagos beaches, as the Ocean surge shifts the beaches into Lekki Lagoon, which inturn raises the floor and allows waves to overwhelm Lagos itself. If this isn't corrected in time, Lagos will soon become swampland within 2 generations.

I personally being a Lagosian will simply contract Mend to blow down the dams that have been built to kill Lagos. All that I have stated is basically a theory. I do not claim expertise in this field, but have spent a lot of time reading about and studying Lagos from Satellite imagery. Much data is needed to determine the changes that have occured sine the construction of the dams, and the bathemetry changes of the Lekki Lagoon. Special attention needs to be focused on the inlets into the Lekki Lagoon. This should prove my theory as facts, and lagos State should look into this urgently. Over 1 Billion Naira was spent by Lagos State for erosion controls at Bar Beach that could have been caused by the Damming of River Ogun and River Osun. Not only was water navigation terminated which has economic consequences, but there are other Domino effects as well. EKO O NI BAJE O.

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I fully understand the benefits of the project. but you have to have a fallback option. You can't cheat or play politics with nature.

Larez gave a great example of the netherlands - the dutch have a saying that goes 'God made the world but we made Holland'.

That example doesn't apply to us because we don't have flood defences, embankments, leevees, dykes, canals, rescue dinghies or even a system that cleans out drainage channels that our good citizens have turned to rubbish dumps.

Case in point is VI and Lagos flooding and storm surges - Didn't the experts say they can fix it - Was it not British Dredging in 1910 that has exacerbated the problem?

"Nearly 100 years ago, the fine white sands of Victoria Island's Bar Beach, arguably Nigeria's most popular, stretched for about seven tenths of a mile wide. Today, the beach has been eaten away to less than a third of a mile wide. Experts say the rapid erosion of the island, and indeed, of most of Lagos' coastline, can be largely attributed to two breakwaters known as the "East and West Moles," which the British colonial government constructed between 1908 and 1912. The moles were built to protect Lagos' valuable harbor from the fierce action of the waves and to prevent sand from entering the deeply dredged harbor on the ocean surge. Unfortunately, the harbor's gain was Victoria Island's loss. The moles altered the balance between the Lagos coast's rate of erosion and the rate at which ocean sediments are deposited, says environmentalist Seun Ogunseitan."

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-25116333_ITM

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The gov't should better hurry and dredge it. This will enhance the water carrying capacity of the lower Niger. Especially now that Niger Republic is building a dam on the same river.

There is no point in allowing the fresh water to flow back to the Atlantic Ocean when we are desperately in need of water

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Propaganda without any facts backing them up.

We must not turn every issue to a Niger Delta issue where the people from Niger Delta think that every other Nigerian wants to benefit from the region.

The River Niger runs runs across many states of the federation and the benefits of the dredging far outweigh any problems that may come with it.

@larez,

Thanks for your comments on this issue.

I agree completely that Nigerians or indeed Africans have refused to do what works best for them rather they prefer to take what foreigners or developed nations say as the ultimate even when these countries push their selfish interests while masking them as sincere advice or concern for Africans.

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@$poOne, you're very welcome, and I am glad you spoke about the Mississippi River. This is one of my case studies, and it is very much a legitimate comparison to the River Niger. There are so many benefits to this project that I could list them all day. One thing for sure is that it will boost traffic to the Warri and calabar Ports which will consequently reduce traffic at the Lagos Ports. Barges will basically move cargo from these various ports. Many progressive communities will also spring up along the River which will depopulate Lagos as well.

The issue I have here is if the Government has made plans on the use of the River Sand that will be dredged. A whole City can be built with this. It may also create an opportunity to build an Interstate highway close to the River that could run from the Delta all the way to Kogi State, but then, the use of water transport should be promoted instead.

Tourism will be heavily boosted because I am sure Nigerians will step up to the opportunity of developing Cruise lines for the River which will bring a lot of international traffic into the country. An International Boat show with races and sponsors will be great during the winter times of the Western world. There just isn't a limit to the possibilities, but I know for sure that within 5 years, areas along the Niger become boom towns.

Some people just criticize for the sake of criticism, but some of us blessed with vision can see all the possibilities.

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i think this is definately good for the country!!

right fg no more talkin

get down to stuff!!

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How would they provide 24 hr electricity, if the dams are overwhelmed - and don't you see any advantage of the water way option for maritime and commerce?

I would say we need more roads as well - not just fixing the existing roads.

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Good thinking, wrong Idea.

They should fix all federal roads and provide 24hours electricity!

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I must confess I am not very versed in water way commerce - thanks Larez!

Any input on the daming aspects - to provide some respite to overwhelmed dams?

As a layman on this, I only see the positives, which has been re-inforced by our in-house expert(Larez).

For those with environmental concerns, was the lower Niger always this shallow (I have only seen it at Asaba - some famous water front hotel there - don't quite remember the Name of the hotel)? If not how did it impact the lower flood-prone plains, in that era?

When I think of the River Niger, I also think of the Mississippi River in the US - with all its woes, it is still the main artery for commerce for a lot communities along the river.

here's another news exerpt from thisday -

, The president, who expressed happiness that the project was commencing at this critical time, revealed that the capital dredging would be completed by the end of January 2010 while the maintenance dredging would be completed by 2011. He disclosed that the second phase of the project which entails dredging of the upper Niger River and River Benue would commence immediately after the completion of the current project,

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=154161

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they have been talking of this dredging since more than ten years ago.

nothing was ever done.hope its true this time

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Larez - you wan kill person with laugh. 'Proper water management' - Please tell me where in Naija that happens, next you go dey talk about environmental risk mitigation strategies.

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I understand your anxiety. There are areas such as you describe in Mfamosing, Cross Rivers as well. But trust me when I tell you that the flooding comes from mountain ranges around it, and drain out to the River Niger. This should not change with the dredging, It could be managed by building up the banks around where it empties into the Niger to keep pre-dredging levels of drainage the same as post-dredging levels. A good hydrology study may need to be done.

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Case in point:

Seasonal flooding in Uhuogbogo in Ahoada

The forest that lies between Eleme and Okrika also floods every wet season.

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Where is the Environmental Impact Assessment?

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A typical example of the nonsense propaganda being spread by the Oyinbos to hold back progress in Africa. Proper Water management will prevent any of this happening. Regardless, Dredging goes deeper and does not lift up water. This is propaganda at best. Oyinbos are busy dedging and creating channels even where there were no rivers. Do a check right here on the internet and see for yourself. Especially when the price of Oil skyrocketed. Puhleeze do not even begin to believe their lies. Dredging River Niger could lead to Nigeria's industrial revolution. Is it not also these Oyinbos that are daming our rivers and telling us it is good for us while our roads are being destroyed? Are they providing locks and Boat lifts for us to be able to tap the commerce potential for our rivers?

Our past leaders have been clueless people who have destroyed much of our potential. With knowledge, we should begin to take steps to reverse some of these destruction. We should have a healthy and thriving Maritime industry.

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During every year's rainy season, and in numerous junctures along its winding course southward through central and southern Nigeria, the River Niger spreads out into shallow seasonal floodplains, where nutrient-rich sedimentary deposits carried by the flow rejuvenate a vast, meandering ribbon of farmland, whose cultivation has fed significant populations of Nigerians for generations.

The proposed plan to dredge the River Niger, if actualized,  will concentrate the flow of water into a centralized narrow shipping canal, whose depth will prevent the occurrence of that natural annual flooding over of seasonal farmland, denying the crops planted there that vital flow of river-borne fertilizer, and placing at grave peril the livelihoods of all communities who rely on the continued viability of that farming for sustenance.

As the River Niger fans out into the multitudinous tributaries of the Niger Delta, her seasonal flooding of rain forest and swamps has for eons created the ideal conditions for those areas to serve as nature's aquatic incubator, where new generations of numerous fresh water and marine fish and shellfish species emerge, migrate and mature, to sustain both traditional community fishing activities, as well as industrial marine fishing fleets on the high seas.

The damage caused to these fragile eco-systems by oil pollution from the Niger Delta oil fields, though massive, will PALE in comparison to the systematic annihilation of all bio-diversity in the River Niger basin that would result if the threat to dredge the entire course of that river is carried out with the kind of industrialized thoroughness that is possible using modern dredging equipment.  Whatever may be the personal or regional economic returns envisioned by those currently scrambling for contracts to dredge the River Niger, THE COST, measured in human lives and livelihoods, as well as in destroyed aquatic specie breeding grounds, will be orders of magnitude more severe.

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It is of military significance, so the navy can patrol the Niger through to Warri. . . Conversely MEND would have a shorter distance to Abuja.

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let them,clear and control the water weeds,before talking of dredging.

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@Beaf:

Must everything be about Niger-Delta? Come on man!!! Lagos needs many areas dredged, by noone listens to my cries, yet they keep complaining about flooding. The dredging project will have major positive impacts on several areas of problems in Nigeria. As a matter of fact. This will be one of the most positive impacts on the country and it's economy for the past 100 years. We are all gung-ho about railway but do you know for example, a barge that carries 1,500 tons of cargo delivers the equivalent of 15 jumbo rail hopper-cars with less adverse pollution impacts -- equivalent to taking 58 large semi-trucks off the highways. The waterways can move 500 tonmiles compared to the 400 ton-miles per gallon that rail transportation achieves.

Let me give you a list of some of the impacts of opening our inland waterways:

[list]

[li]Less harzardous traffic conditions by keeping many trucks off the roads.

Faster Industrial growth due to easier transport of Heavy/oversized equipment.

Revolutionary growth of our mining sector due to cheaper means of bulk transport.

More jobs created in an industrial revolution.

Higher revenues from taxes generated from Industry and Labour.

Reduction of the gaps between the rich and poor.

Technical skill growth in population.

More social amenities available to the population from revenues generated.

More recreational facilities created by propectors to support the demand generated from middle class growth in the country.[/li]

Now we all know that Oyinbo doesn't want this for Africa since Africa is the dump for their used and dillapidated trucks. They actually now advertize all over the internet for Nigerians to come and buy used trucks from them. Look at Nairaland here, everyone wants to bring trucks to Naija for transportation. But our roads keep getting destroyed and our people keep getting killed in road accidents.

Our failure is not limited to leadership, but also to our unwillingness to embrace change. We should look at what Oyinbo is doing in their own countries and not what they come to do in Nigeria. What we see is where they want our minds to be. It is unfortunate that we that have seen and lived with Oyinbo, even excelled and added to their growth. But when we come home to try to influence and change our country, people only want to steal our ideas and create another white elephant. They do not understand that he who has the vision sees the complete picture. They take a few tidbits and run with it. This is a shame of our society.

IT hurts me everyday knowing how much data that I have on-hand to help Nigeria, but politicians keep dancing me around and stealing intellectual property. Fashola is being hailed and praised in Nigeria because he stood up against the bad norms of the society and decided to do something. However, there is much more to be done, and the most revolutionary activity that will change Lagos drastically is to shift 80% of truck traffic to the waterways of Lagos. These waterways that we ignore are the heartbeats of most areas of the world blessed with water like in Lagos. I need to stop because I am only feeling more pain at the moment. But here is a clip from one of the documents in my possession. We should all be celebrating if the River Niger gets dredged for navigation.

[li][/li]

[/list]

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