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.

FG committed to completion of Lokoja Inland Port – NIWA MD

The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA) Dr. George Muoghalu has restated the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the completion of the Lokoja inland Port.

The MD who gave this hint in Lokoja while answering questions from journalists on Wednesday, who were on visit to the Authority, noted that it is the desire of government to ensure that the Nigeria waterways is Navigable all year round.

He maintained that if the waterways are put to effective use, it will help to reduce pressure on the roads and save the country huge resources being invested in the maintenance of the roads every year.

While expressing concern over the slow pace of work on the Jamata River port in Lokoja, several years after the contract was signed, he said the federal executive council has ordered the review of the contract terms to fast track the completion of the project.

He said the Authority has concluded arrangements to procure additional dredgers to carry out maintenance dredging of the water channels for easy navigation.

Speaking on how to manage the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, Muoghalu called on government at all levels to gear up for post COVID-19 engagement towards ensuring that the economy is revived to guarantee efficiency.

“The federal and the state Governments has shown capacity in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. My worry is how to revamp the economy which has been greatly affected by the pandemic.

“The year 2020 appropriation has been adjusted to reflect current realities. My advice to government at all levels is to prepare for the post COVID-19 engagement. We must all join hands together to revive the economy for optimal performance.”

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.

“Waterways can reduce burden on Nigerian Roads” – NIWA MD

When fully developed, Nigeria’s waterways have the capacity to reduce the burden on the nation’s roads, the New MD George Moghalu, has said.

Moghalu, who was recently appointed as the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said the waterways also have the capacity to generate millions of jobs and open up communities across the country.

The MD expressed concern that majority of Nigerians were unaware of the capacity of the agency, which he attributed it to lack of publicity for its activities.

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George Moghalu resumes duty as NIWA MD

The newly appointed Managing Director (MD) of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief Dr George Moghalu has resumed office and promised to continue with all ongoing viable and justifiable projects of the Agency as long they conform to due process and the Act establishing the Agency.

The MD stated this while delivering his speech at NIWA headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State.

He noted that the overall policy objectives of NIWA is transforming the Inland Waterways to make them not just economically viable but also to provide a safe, reliable and alternate transport system to ease the problem of transportation and movement of goods across the country which makes the Agency and important and strategic one, placing on our a huge responsibility from which so much is expected.

“Inland Waterways system is a critical component of the national freight system, particularly for movement of bulk commodities. In view of the growing transportation needs particularly in moving bulk commodities, our country dearly needs diversification and development of its critical infrastructures in the area of Waterways transportation,” he said.