The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was established by Decree No. 13 of 1997 with a clear mandate to manage Nigeria's vast inland waterway resources. The Decree vests in NIWA the power of exclusive management, direction and control on the Nigerian inland waterways. This power is exercised on Nigeria’s 3000km navigable waterways from the Nigeria/Niger and Nigeria/Cameroon borders to the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is blessed with a river configuration very suitable for North-South movement of people and goods.
The inland waterways of Nigeria comprise of the main river system (Rivers Niger and Benue which form a confluence at Lokoja), creeks, lagoons, lakes and intra-coastal waters. Early merchants, missionaries and educationist took advantage of the Nigerian river system to embark on expeditions on the River Niger.
Toward the development of the Nigerian inland waterways, NIWA encourages private investments on the inland waterways in pursuit of government’s policy of Public Private Programme (PPP).
To make Nigeria the leader in inland water transportation development and management in Africa.
To provide regulatory, economical and operational leadership in the nation's inland waterways system and develop infrastructural facilities for efficient inter-modal transportation system in line with global best practices that is safe, seamless and affordable.
- Improve and develop the inland waterways for safe navigation
- Provide alternative mode of transportation for the evacuation of economic goods and persons
- Execute the objectives of national transport policy as they concern inland waterways.
By virtue of her functions of control, direction and management on the Nigerian inland waterways system, NIWA maintains a broad spectrum of clientele, such as:
- River transport companies;
- Oil-prospecting companies;
- Oil and gas support services companies;
- Commercial sand-winning Companies and entrepreneurs;
- Dredging Companies;
- Shore – based business operators/entrepreneurs of dockyards, hotels, restaurants, yacht yards, resorts etc;
- River craft operators/owners;