By Kenneth Jukpor
National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has commended members of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) for their leadership role in boat operations.
The Authority made this commendation at the weekend in Lagos as ATBOWATON members organized a party to recount the many manifold blessings of God to the association’s growth and development.
NIWA’s Lagos Area Manager, Engr. Sarat Lara Braimah, represented by Engr. Seye Okaga, praised the efforts of Lagos ATBOWATON leadership to ensure that the members discharge their operational expectations to the admiration of all stakeholders, urging the association to continue to improve services to water transport users and also be responsive to NIWA’s guidelines.
At the ceremony, the Lagos wing of the national boat operators body said the quest to remain united, resourceful and obedient to extant regulatory expectations on the waterways, contributed to far reaching measures to the association’ s modest achievements.
Mr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, National President of the association, commended the Lagos chapter chairman, Alhaji Lawal Babatunde for effectively turning around the fortunes of the Lagos body in a short time, noting that the unity of purpose exhibited by the leadership, was worthy of emulation by other ATBOWATON chapters leadership all over the country.
Earlier, Alhaji Lawal Babatunde paid glowing tribute to the founding state chairman, High Chief Wellington Akingbulu whose leadership impacted positively on the lagos chapter and grew from ten to twenty-three sub chapters in six years.
He noted that under his watch, he has increased the chapter’s structure to thirty+two sub chapters, a process that has improved communication and relationship within the organization.
Other notable achievements within three years include the opening of the state chapter account with Zenith Bank, establishment of office at NIWA marina jetty, training and retraining of members in partnership with regulatory agencies, issuance of identification cards to registered members and a mandatory list of verifiable operators in Lagos.
Babatunde also listed the regular rotation of meetings to all sub chapter areas as a focal achievement as it has helped to grow unity among the members, adding that regular payment of dues to the national body shows that Lagos State chapter can be trusted to contribute to ATBOWATON’s national growth.
Commending NIWA Lagos Area office for always looking into its various requests, the Lagos chapter chairman, noted that without such support from Engr. Braimah, he said ATBOWATON would have long run into the murky waters of boat transportation business.
“We want to thank NIWA for the support in the past years even before I became chairman. We cannot forget. Also to our national President, Mr. Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun, who has carried our burden for over three decades and still doing so today without let”, Babatunde stated.
Meanwhile, he prayed for an accident-free 2022 and encouraged all members to be law abiding.
Notable big players like Only God and Texas Connection ferry were in attendance at the ceremony.