The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), hitherto Inland Waterways Department (IWD) of the Federal Ministry of Transport, metamorphosed into an Authority vide an act of the National Assembly, CAP 47, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004 (Decree No. 13 of 1997), established with the primary responsibility to improve and develop Nigeria’s inland waterways for navigation.


The law establishing NIWA gave it the following statutory roles

Provide regulation for inland water navigation;

Ensure development of infrastructural facilities for a national inland waterways connectivity with economic centers using the River Ports and nodal points for inter-nodal exchanges;

Ensure the development of indigenous technical and managerial skills to meet the challenges of modern inland waterways transportation;There are several other functions and powers of the authority properly enunciated and documented in laws establishing NIWA (NIWA ACT CAP N47 LFN 2004).

Other functions and powers of the Authority

undertake capital and maintenance dredging;
undertake hydrological and hydrographic surveys:

design ferry routes:

survey, remove, and receive derelicts, wrecks and other obstructions from in land waterways;

operate ferry services within the inland waterways system;

undertake installation and maintenance of lights, buoys and all navigational aids along water channels and banks;

issue and control licenses for inland navigation, piers, jellies, dockyards;

examine and survey inland water crafts and shipyard operators;

grant permit and licenses for sand dredging, pipeline construction, dredging of slots and crossing of waterways by utility lines, water intake, rock blasting and removal;

grant licenses to private inland waterway operators;

approve designs and construction of inland river crafts;

approve and control all (i) jetties, dockyards, piers within the inland waterways;
(ii) advertising within the right-of-way of the waterways:

reclaim land within the right-of-way;

undertake the construction, administration and maintenance of inland river-ports and jetties;

provide hydraulic structures for river and dams, bed and bank stabilisation, barrages, groynes;

collect river lolls;

undertake the production, publication and broadcasting of navigational publi­cations, bulletins and notices, hydrological year hooks, river charts and river maps;

carry out consultancy and contractual services;

represent the Government of Nigeria at national and international commissions that deal with navigation and inland water transportation;

subject to the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, carry out environmental impact assessment of navigation and other dredging activi­ties within the inland water and its right-of-ways;

undertake erection and maintenance of gauges, kilometre boards, horizontal and vertical control marks;

advise government on all border mailers that relate to the inland waters;

undertake acquisition, leasing and hiring of properties;

run cruise boats;

carry out boat repairs, boat construction and dockyard services; and

clear water hyacinth and other aquatic weeds.


improve and develop inland waterways for navigation:

provide an alternative mode of transportation for the evacuation of economic goods and persons: and

execute the objectives of the national transport policy as they concern inland waterways


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 an efficient intermodal transportation system in line with global best practices that is safe, seamless and affordable.

For more information about the operations of National Inland Waterways Authority