NIWA To Sign On South African Firm For Waterways Surveillance

NIWA   To Sign On South African Firm For Waterways Surveillance
Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu

 

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is  considering a proposal from a South African firm for installation of cameras and a Command Control centre for surveillance of Nigerian inland waterways.

NIWA’s Managing Director, Dr. George Moghalu  stated this during a media parley in Lagos, on Friday

Meanwhile, Lagos State Waterways Authotrity(LASWA)  had started  a similar project across the waterways in Lagos State.

According to the NIWA boss, the agency has visited South Africa on invitation by the company to see how it operates the same surveillance service for the South Africa’s inland waterways, even as the company has equally conducted an assessment of Nigerian inland waterways.

Moghalu noted that with the installation of cameras and a Command Control centre, NIWA will be better positioned to monitor activities on the inland waterways to curb unprofessional conducts and respond speedily to accidents.

When reminded that Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and Nigerian Navy have similar surveillance systems, Moghalu said NIWA would explore synergy with other agencies to attain a cost-effective and efficient surveillance platform.

“I have noted your suggestion that since NPA, NIMASA and Navy have similar projects. You’re emphasizing that there is a need for synergy. Synergy could make this venture cost-effective and we can link up all these systems so that it can work optimally. I’m going to explore this to the fullest,” Moghalu said.

Meanwhile, the NIWA boss stated that the agency has intensified efforts to sensitize riverine communities on safety measures and standards for inland waterways operations, especially on the use of standard life-jackets, ban on night travel and overcrowded boats.

His words: “I have told my Area Managers across the nation that I want to have biweekly reports on sensitization activities. In terms of reaching these locals, using radio is the best but it’s also important to engage them physically using the churches, mosques, traditional rulers and religious leaders.”

Giving an update on river ports, he said the Baro river port challenge is about access but expressed delight at federal government’s approval for rail construction and road plans by federal and state governments.

He, however, noted the agency is examining offers from bidders for Lokoja and Oguta river ports concession, while Onitsha river port Area Management is currently engaging Technical Partners from the Port of Antwerp.

Moghalu also encouraged the media to verify reports on accidents and casualties before publishing, stating that contrary to media reports of 50 lives lost in the recent boat mishap in Niger State only one person died.

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