To commence Electronic registration of boat operators from January 2022
As part of efforts to enforce compliance to safety standards on Lagos Waterways, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Thursday last week commissioned three patrol boats to be deployed on the Lagos inland waterways.
Speaking during the commissioning the boats, the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu explained that the agency procured 20 patrol boats and decided to hand over three for the Lagos inland waterways.
He also revealed that an ambulance would be deployed on Lagos Waterways soon, while he inaugurated a taskforce team that will man the patrol boats and comb the Lagos waterways to ensure operators comply to safety standards.
He advised boat operators to desist from overloading their boats, describing the problem as one of the major issues leading to boat mishaps across the nation.
“One of our headaches is the penchant by operators to overload boats. Many of the accidents that have claimed lives on our inland waterways has been down to overloading issues.
“Another problem we encounter on the waterways is the refusal to wear Life Jackets for passengers during ferry services by boat operators.”
“It will be the responsibility of the taskforce to ensure compliance on our waterways henceforth. The three patrol boats will comb the Lagos inland waterways on a 24hpirs basis to apprehend operators who default on these safety rules. Anybody caught flouting these safety regulations will be arrested henceforth,” he said.
Meanwhile, he appreciate the collaborative efforts of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and other government agencies, even as he noted that NIWA will continue to look forward to collaborating with sister agencies to ensure that water transportation is safe and efficient.
He also encouraged boat operators to quit night voyages because their vessels lack navigational aids, even as he frowned at residents of riverine communities who steal lights and other navigational equipment mounted by the Authority.
“Our directive is clear, boats should not ply the waterways once it’s 6:30 pm in the evening. Many of the boat mishaps have occured at night. Our patrol boats will be combing the waterways in the evening to apprehend those defaulting on this directive,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the General Manager, Marine, NIWA, Engr. Joseph Ororo commended the Managing Director for changing the face of NIWA commended the NIWA helmsman for his commitment to excellence at the Authority.
Ororo lauded the NIWA boss specially for the repair of a Water Hyacinth equipment that was repaired in-house after being abandoned for over thirteen years.
He, however, revealed that the Authority was concluding plans to launch an Electronic Register system for operations.
“Doing registrations manually and physically isn’t compliant with the ease of doing business that the Federal Government is promoting. From January 1st, 2022 boat registration will be done online through the e-process that NIWA is introducing,” he said.
He stressed that the only contact with NIWA staff will be physical inspection as the e-system would alert operators three months before the expiration of their licenses.
Meanwhile, he assured that more stakeholders engagement will be organized to fine-tune the online registration initiative.
In her welcome speech, the Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Engr. Sarat Braimah appreciated the NIWA Managing Director for the support given to the Lagos office of the agency.
She equally commended the agency’s core stakeholders including; boat operators, jetty operators, maritime workers, traditional rulers, among others for their commitment to a viable water transport system in Lagos.