When President Umaru Yar'Adua flagged off dredging of the lower section of River Niger on September 10, 2009, the euphoria that greeted the ceremony resulted from the belief that the project would open up commercial activities on Nigeria's section of West Africa's principal waterway.
Yar'Adua's government expended a princely N43 billion to dredge the river ostensibly to open it up for socio-economic activities. The government also promised to build seven ports along the banks of the river. The ports were to be located in Agenebode, Idah, Yenagoa, Baro, Lokoja, Aguta and Ogbabe. Onitsha River Port was also to be rehabilitated and expanded to accommodate a river training institute. The River Niger dredging was to cover a distance of 572 Kilometres from Warri, in Delta State, to Baro in Niger State to ensure all year round usage.