Maritime Agencies Synergise for Safety of Waterways, improved Transportation

The Maritime agencies in the country on Thursday resolved to ensure security and safety on waterways for improved water transportation through adequate collaboration and synergy.

Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) disclosed this at the end of the Third Monthly Meeting of Chief Executives of Maritime Agencies in Lokoja.

Moghalu said the Chief Executives of the agencies discussed issues relating to maritime security and safety, capacity building and enforcement of security protocols, to reduce the carnage on the nation’s waterways.

“This is our routine meeting which from the point when we started, is aimed at building synergy by coming together, taking our policies together, to see how we can work together for the benefit of our nation, Nigeria.’’

According to him, the CEOs at the meeting constituted a committee on the multimodal approach to cargo delivery, to enhance seaport and dryport operations.

“We are looking at what we can do to harmonise the operations of all maritime agencies in the country to better the maritime industry, especially in the area of movement of cargo between the waterports.’’

He said that there was a need for effective water transportation in view of the positive impact it would make on the economy, in reducing ports congestion and haulage of heavy-duty goods through the roads.

On frequent capsizing of boats and mishaps on the Waterways and safety measures, he noted that only last week, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency/ (NIMASA) organised a “world-class safety and security conference” in the country.

“The Safety issue is not peculiar to our Waterways, we also have security challenges on land but the important thing is that government is conscious of this fact.

“Agencies of government are also conscious of this fact. Gunboats have been acquired, NIMASA is also doing a lot in that direction.’’

Moghalu urged the citizens to play roles expected of them and obey basic rules and regulations laid down by NIWA, as he attributed the incessant boat mishaps to non-compliance by boat riders.

Agencies present at the meeting included NIWA, NIMASA, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Shippers Council and the Federal Ministry of Transport, among others. (NAN)

NIWA Commissions 36 Seater Ferry Boat at Yelwa-Yauri, Kebbi State

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has commissioned a 36 seater ferry boat at Yelwa – Yauri, Kebbi State.

In his opening remarks, The Managing Director of NIWA, Chief Dr. George Moghalu thanked God for the opportunity given to the Authority to procure the 36 seater ferry boat on behalf of Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah as part of his constituency project.

The MD appreciated the distinguished Senator for his commitment and desire to create the enabling environment for water transportation to grow. Moghalu also acknowledged the kind support given to NIWA by the Yauri Emirate council in fulfilling its official responsibilities.

He further stated that the importance of water transportation could not be over emphasized for both facilitating the transportation of cargos and personnel in strengthening Nigeria’s economy and at the same time exploring tourism potentials of water transportation.

The MD appealed to the government of Kebbi State to encourage NIWA by assisting it to ensure companies, organizations and the public using NIWA’s right of way, which is one hundred metres perpendicular from the point of river, pay their legitimate fees.

In his speech, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah promised to bring more developments to his people as the ferry being commissioned is just the beginning, as two more ferries are on their way coming, one from Lagos and the other from China. He also said, in addition to the Jetties he has built before in the area, he is also planning in conjunction with NIWA to build a ferry terminal.

Thereafter, the Emir of Yelwa – Yauri, HRH. Dr. Muhammed Zayyanu Abdullahi (CON) cut the tape to commission the new ferry boat and there was a boat ride in compliance with the Covid-19 safety protocols.

Earlier, the Managing Director paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Yauri, in which during the visit the Emir raised three critical issues in the areas of litigations, clearing of water hyacinth/removal of wrecks and the development of the Inland Waterways for the optimum benefit of his people.

Responding, the MD promised to address all the issues raised by the Royal Father.

Signed:
Jibril, Darda’u
Ag. GM (Corporate Affairs)

NIWA shutdown operations of boat owner for violating safety regulations

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has shutdown operations of the boat operator; Lalek Marine for failing to comply with regulations put in place against night movement and overloading of boats in Lagos.

The boat, which operated out of Ebute Ero jetty on Friday night by 8pm and capsized on its way to Ikorodu, shortly after departure, with 14 passengers rescued and six dead with one missing.

In a statement, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Eng Sarat Braimah said that the ill fated boat that capsized, failed to adhere to 6pm sailing regime guiding water transportation services in Lagos.

She added: “In a preliminary report on the sad and avoidable incident, the Lagos area office of NIWA stated that the boat operator apart from violating the extant time of operation regime which is at 6pm and not 8pm, the boat operator also overloaded the boat against the covid 19 protocol which allows only 60 per cent carrying capacity for all types of boats in order to encourage social distancing.

“We at NIWA responded immediately and joined the marine police, LASWA and other concerned agencies to rescue the 14 passengers and also recovered six others already drowned, with one missing”. She explained.
She explained that the Ebute Ero jetty, the departure point of the ill-fated boat will henceforth be monitored by NIWA police pending the conclusion of the investigation to the incident. She hinted that the owner of the boat is being tracked down by NIWA to come to explain how the unfortunate incident happened and if need be, the collaborators to the whole unfortunate episode.

“The MD of NIWA has directed that the jetty be monitored by NIWA police to avoid re-occurrence of the incident and to enable NIWA conduct full investigation to this very sad but avoidable violation” she added, noting that NIWA management had a month ago offered waiver and reduced sundry fees and other operational charges across board in the brown water economy to help stakeholders stick to post Covid 19 protocols and to check tendencies that might encourage violations of extant regulation regime.

“The Managing director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu knew that some operators might be tempted to make quick money to make up for the lost opportunities and financial loss experienced during the lock down and therefore was futuristic and proactive to reduce the fees and charges, knowing the expected impact of the new normal on operators but we can see from what happened that some operators are so uncaring and selfish to end the lives of innocent people through blatant violation of the rules of engagement.”

NIWA is still investigating the situation, looking at various scenarios, and engaging other agencies and boat operators association to nip this type of avoidable incident in the bud, she added.

Access Roads stalling Baro Port from Take off – NIWA MD

The non completion of the major access roads to the multi-million Naira Baro Inland Port in Niger State is stalling its take off, according to the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu.

While speaking with Journalist on Sunday in Lokoja, Moghalu said the authority is working round the clock by reaching out to appropriate authorities in a bid to get access roads to the facility fixed.

He noted that the port is critical to the operations of the Nigeria’s waterways, especially being a feeder to inland dry ports in Kaduna and others been proposed by the federal government.

Stakeholders have expressed worries over the inability of the federal government to put the Baro port to use more that a year after its commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar and the Niger State government have recently appealed to the federal government to accelerate work on the main access road from Agaie town in Agaie local government area through Katcha to Baro. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and the Etsu believed that the port is a key catalyst for trade stimulation and economic development of the North in particular and Nigeria at large.

There are two major access roads to the ancient community – the 55 kilometers Baro/Katcha/Agaie and Baro/Muye linking Gegu on Abuja/Lokoja expressway both of which are in deplorable condition. The federal government had awarded the contract for the Baro/Katcha/Agaie axis. NIWA is also considering the option of approaching the host state government of Niger with the intent of persuading it to collaborate with the federal government on the matter. The Baro port was constructed by a Chinese firm, CGCC Project Limited, at the cost of N5.8 billion. The port boasts of a quay length of 150 metres, cargo stacking yard of 7,000 square metres, a transit shed of 3, 600 square metres and an estimated capacity of 5,000 TEU at a time.