The management of the National Inland Waterways Authority has warned boat operators to adhere strictly to NIWA safety guidelines or be sanctioned
The authority gave the warning on on Tuesday in a statement signed by the Acting – General Manager Corporate Affairs, Alhaji Jibril Darda’u in Lokoja.
According to the statement: “We would like to use this medium to appeal to the general public, especially waterways’ users, to strictly adhere to NIWA safety guidelines, especially for boat operators, in Lagos and Benue States.
While commiserating with the people, Government and families of the victims of recent boat mishap in Lagos and Benue,the Managing Director, Dr. George Moghalu warned all boat operators in the
country to adhere strictly to inland waterways transportation safety
Moghalu further stated that his reform agenda of inland waterways transportation system under his administration in the country is working towards ensuring a minimal if not free boat mishap on our waterways.
The statement reads in part: “the authority is sad with the recent boat mishaps,which could have been avoided in Lagos and Benue States that claimed so many lives as a result of violating Inland Waterway Transport Safety and guidelines,”the statement concluded.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Ameachi flagged off the of the maintenance dredging of the River Niger from Ajaokuta to Onitsha and commended the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Boss Gida Mustapha for looking inwards.
Mr. Amaechi while while flagging off the maintenance dredging at Julius Berger Jetty in Ajaokuta on Friday 28 April 2017 said NIWA was making progress by maintaining the channel in-house, thereby saving the country some billions of Naira.
“This is the best form of administration you can get being ingenious because we don’t have money to pay any contractor. I asked if they have the capacity to do the dredging, why then did we have to commit over N40 billion and we pay N34 billion. Imagine if we mobilize N10 billion for NIWA to do it with its staff, that would save the country N24 billion.
“That amount can build the road from Abaji to Lokoja. That has to do with the management of resources so I must commend the Managing Director of NIWA for his initiative” he said.
Amaechi promised to ensure that NIWA was fully empowered to continue to carry the regular maintenance dredging with bigger and more standard dredgers if he remained the minister.
He said the River Niger was extremely important in terms of economic activities in the North, adding that it was the major river that links the North to the South which will ensure life is brought back in terms of navigation.
He stressed that he hoped to see the full Concession of the Onitsha River Port before the end of the year, completion of the Lokoja River port and supply of cargo handling equipment at Baro River Port.
“These I believe will complement activities at the Lokoja River Port and crest multiple benefits with attendant multiplier effects on the economy, particularly in promoting multi-modal transport and cheaper coastal services across 28 States of the federation.
“With this, National Inland Waterways Authority is now poised to improve the navigability of the waterways, increase the value of water fronts and generate economic activities along the River banks as well as the riverine communities” he said.
He promised that the National Inland Waterways Authority would make their efforts and other Waterway users seamless as possible by further deepening the channels and ensuring that the Ajaokuta-Onitsha route was navigable all the year round.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Federal Government has awarded contract for the dredging of the critical part of River Benue.
Mr. Amaechi, who disclosed this at the 2017 budget defence before members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport on Thursday in Abuja, said that work will soon commence.
He said the project was a fallout of the decision of the Federal Government to maximize the use of the resources of 12 major rivers in the country.
The minister added that the capital dredging of the Lower River Niger from Warri to Baro, covering a distance of 572 kilometres had also commenced.
He added that Baro River Port had achieved 95 per cent completion, adding that arrangement was being made for the provision of cargo handling equipment and turning of the basin to port.
According to him, government has approved the upward review of fees and tariffs for the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), to enable the country look inward and improve its economic base.
He said the government was determined to encourage a river dependent sustainable economic development through marine transportation.
The Managing Director of NIWA, Mr. Boss Mustapha said works on the N10 billion inland ports under construction in Baro, Lokoja and Oguta would be completed in 2017.
Mr. Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in Lokoja during an interaction with journalists, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Mustapha said works on the ports at Baro, Lokoja and Oguta had reached 98 per cent, 57 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.
He put the contract sums of the ports at Baro at N3.5 billion, Lokoja; N4.1 billion and Ogoja at N2.7 billion.
He said all the ports would be completed during the 2017 fiscal year, saying the ports would be provided with other auxiliary facilities.
The NIWA boss also said the augury port in Imo State had reached 70 per cent completion, while the Onitsha port had been completed and ready for use.