Sambo Commissions 2 NIWA Patrol Boats To Enhance Compliance On Waterways

Sambo Commissions 2 NIWA Patrol Boats To Enhance Compliance On Waterways

The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Muazu Sambo has commissioned two patrol boats recently acquired by the National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) to enhance the operational efficiency of the authority.

Recall that lately, NIWA has been challenged by incidences of waterways accidents necessitating enhanced monitoring for compliance by the operators to curtail the rising rate of carnage on the nation’s waterways.

The Minister during a tour of Port Harcourt Area Office of NIWA on Friday, commissioned the two patrol boats,PB-Gusau and PB-Jalingo as well as a 32-seater passenger ferry boat.

Following this, the Managing Director ,NIWA , Chief George Moghalu, has claimed that Nigeria is the first country in the continent to begin waterways transportation.

This claim, observers believe means that the vast waterways in the continent are underutilized.

However, the Managing Director, stated that the minister’s wealth of experience and knowledge in the sector will further impact positively in the Authority and spur it to greater productivity.

Moghalu who noted that the set of newly acquired rivercraft is to enhance the operational efficiency of the Authority, said the vision of NIWA is to make Nigeria the leader in inland waterways transportation, development and management in Africa.

He explained that there is need to ensure the development of infrastructural facilities for a national inland waterways network that will connect the creeks and the rivers with the economic centres, using the river ports as nodal points for intermodal exchange.

His words: “As you may be aware, in less than a year ago, the Authority commissioned more than twenty patrol boats as well as a tugboat, houseboat and water ambulance for distribution to various Area Offices of the Authority.

“This is part of the Authority’s vision to ensure that the Nation’s inland waterways provide a truly safe, efficient, cost effective and alternative mode of transportation of goods and persons, as well as become competitive and attractive.

“There is no gainsaying that the huge opportunities that abound in the Nation’s inland waterways can only be maximized if concerted efforts are geared towards the development of infrastructure and proper funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive to players, hence the need for a regulatory framework; aimed at actualizing this, which ultimately will take the cost of providing infrastructure on roads to water at relatively cheaper cost”.

The NIWA boss disclosed that the Authority has licensed several companies for the transportation of cargo across the waterways in Nigeria, especially, from Lagos and Onne Ports to the hinterlands and vice versa.

“To achieve more of these, the Authority is poised to continuously ensure the development of indigenous manpower as well as providing navigational aids, river training works, wreck surveys and removal, establishment of river gauges, construction of jetties, capital and maintenance dredging, establishment of search and rescue stations, rivercraft certification and training of boat drivers and crew, as well as continuous safety sensitization campaigns.

“As we speak, the sixth batch of training and certification of boat skippers by the Authority is ongoing in Lagos. Even expatriates are participating in this training and certification exercise by the Authority”, he added.

He thanked the ministry for its contribution to the growth of the Authority, towards ensuring that the nation reaps the best from inland waterways transportation system.

 

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