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.

Lagos State House of Assembly overstepping its mandate ― NIWA

The unending face-off between the National inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA) and the Lagos State government over dredging activities may enter another phase as the Federal Government waterways regulatory agency frowned at the attempt by the Lagos State House of Assembly to overstep its mandate on the extant mining laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which mandates only NIWA to oversight access through the waterways.

In a letter written to the Lagos State Government and copies mailed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, NIWA stated that the latest irritation is a sequel to moves by Lagos State House of Assembly to ambush the regulatory powers of NIWA and at the same time interfere in the activities of dredging companies through the composition of a seven-man committee to investigate and make recommendations on dredging activities in Lagos State.

According to the letter signed by the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu on Tuesday, the agency called on the Lagos State government to caution the leadership of it’s State House of Assembly to stop forthwith the current posturing which is a clear breach of a peaceful resolution between NIWA and Lagos State government over a clash of interest on dredging and sundry waterway matters.

Detailing the background to the current impasse, Dr George Moghalu stated that, “As a prelude to the full understanding of the matter under reference, you would recall that there was a recent clash between National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State Waterfront and Infrastructure Development during which our staff and indeed companies registered with us were arrested by your staff and arraigned before special offences court, the resolution of that imbroglio I believe is still under consideration.”‘

Warning however that Lagos State House of Assembly attempt may position logs in the ongoing efforts to reach an amicable settlement of vexed issues at hand, the NIWA boss drew the attention of the state government to the extant laws on Minerals and Mining Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which clearly states that where there are issues arising from the operations of any licenced operator of the Federal Government, Section 141 of the Act and sections 15, 16 and 17 of the regulation made pursuant to the above Act has made copious provision for its resolution.

Dr George Moghalu further informed the Lagos State government that a ruling of the court of Appeal in Mining cadastral office vs Petroleum and Transport Investment LTD and another (2018) LPEIR 46046 which cleared the air on the vexed issue and further recognizes waterway use permit exclusively within the ambit of NIWA.

“May I in simple words, emphasize that matters within the exclusive list of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are outside the legislative competence of the State government as they are within the competence of the National assembly, Dr Moghalu restated, urging the state government to respectfully forward his observation to the leadership of the State House of Assembly.

COVID-19: NIWA Issues Fresh Guidelines

National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Lagos Area Office has issued fresh guidelines for a better-controlled inland waterways transportation and jetty operations regime.

The Area Manager, Mrs Sarat Braimah highlighted this on Sunday in a statement, in Lagos, adding that the new guidelines were in tandem with the directive of the Presidential Task force on COVID-19, to allow a gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown as announced by the President on March 27.

The following guidelines, according to NIWA, would take effect from May 4:

“Movement of Boats/Ferries will be between the hours of 6:30 am and 5:30 pm. No passenger boat is expected on the waterways after 5:30 pm in the evening.

“The loading capacity of all Boats and Ferries shall be at 60 per cent capacity until further notice, that is, a 20 passenger boat will be reduced to 12 passengers only.

“All passengers shall put on a face-mask before embarkment and throughout the duration of travel.

“Boat operators shall make alcohol-based sanitizers available at the entrance of their boat. The use of sanitizers is mandatory before the embarkment and disembarkment of passengers.

“Operators are to make available decent lifejackets as we move towards actualizing optimal hygiene and passengers are urged if necessary to provide and use their personal Life Jackets”.

She said that commercial boat operations shall remain suspended during weekends till further notice, while there would be temperature checks at various jetties and terminals.

“Jetties/Terminals are not allowed to accommodate and congregate more than 20 passengers at a time, this is in line with the enforcement of social distancing.

“Passengers are expected to board immediately on arrival at the jetties.

“In the event of any suspected case of COVID-19 please call the Authority or 08000CORONA,” she added.

Braimah said that in order to ameliorate the cost of operations for commercial boat operators, the authority had directed all jetty operators to charge fifty percent of applicable jetty fees.

She said that government jetties remain free of charge till further notice.

NIWA demolishes shanties & illegal structures around Iddo waterfront in Lagos

The Lagos Area Office of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has pulled down shanties and illegal structures along the Lagos waterways channel in Iddo waterfront to secure the area for navigation.According to NIWA Area Manager for Lagos, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah, while speaking during the demolishing exercise at the weekend, “The development is sequel to petitions and reports of unwholesome activities and presence of suspected pirates who  hide in the shanties where they plan and launch attacks against legal occupants of waterfront facilities, not excluding leaving behind fishing nets on the waterways to takedown boats and vessels transporting goods across the channel.”

Read more – Nigerian Tribune

NIWA signs MOU with Lagos State to end Waterways dispute

The dispute between National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State over the control of waterways came to an end on Monday after both parties signed an agreement of cooperation.

Officials of the National Inland Waterways Authority were led by Managing Director, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, for the ratification of the treaty at the office of the Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The treaty will guarantee a better working relationship between NIWA and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

The row over the control of waterways surrounding Lagos started more than 10 years ago between NIWA and LASWA, with both parties locking horns in a protracted legal battle. With the new agreement, both parties will now have a joint responsibility to ensure safety, harmonise tariffs and monitor regulations on the waterways.

After signing the agreement, Sen. Mamora said the agreement was signed in good faith and in the best interest of the people. Governor Sanwo-Olu said the development implied the unlocking of investment in water transportation, which is one of the cardinal projects of his administration.