By Kenneth Jukpor
The Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has been indicted for porous regulatory framework as barge operators clog several areas in Lagos, creating logistics constraints for such communities.
Experts have queried NIWA for not doing proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before approving several sites for barge operations in Lagos State.
A shipping expert and maritime lawyer, Barr. Emmanuel Nwagbara made this call while speaking with MMS Plus during an exclusive chat.
According to him, barge operators have been allowed to clog several locations in Lagos without proper spacing and their trucking activities have subjected host communities to severe logistics challenges.
His words: “NIWA should be able to regulate barging operations. What we see right now in the areas of barging operations is very undesirable. People living along waterfronts and adjoining areas are exhausted with traffic gridlock daily.”
Nwagbara noted that absence of proper regulations for barge operators has also encouraged them to carry out their activities without work etiquettes.
“NIWA has failed with the onus of regulating barge operations in Nigeria. Most of the barge operators don’t have work etiquettes. NIWA doesn’t seem to have control on the activities at barge operator’s jetties. Consequently, all the activities along the waterline from Kirikiri to Mile2, Ojo to Badagry, Ikorodu, Yaba and other areas are chaotic. The residents in those areas are in trouble because of unregulated barge operations. Barge operators operate their trucks without regard to other port users and these areas have the roads perpetually blocked,” he said.
Meanwhile, he noted that the traffic gridlock and chaos in these affected areas also encourage criminal activities as hoodlums extort trucks that intend to access the jetty for barge operations.
“The fact that most of these barge operators got NIWA license shows that there was no investigation as to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of these facilities prior to the licensing. Sometimes, I wonder if NIWA knows that there are jetties for barge operations in these areas because at some locations you find three jetties involved in barging operations within a distance of less than 250meters. How do we expect people to live in these areas,” he queried.