The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has begun moves to upgrade its facilities and safety standard with a view to sanitising water transportation on the nation’s waterways.
Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, disclosed that boats and water vessels that do not have permits issued by the authority would soon not be allowed to move in Nigeria’s inland waterways.
He explained that the move was part of efforts to make water transportation safer and a preferred choice for travelers in the shortest possible time in the country.
Moghalu, who stated this during a visit to NIWA’s operational base in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State yesterday, said all boats using the waterways would have to meet safety standards.
“We are going to play clearly our regulatory roles very strictly. We are going to enforce the use of permits before boats can enter the waterways because we cannot allow rickety to go and waste the lives of Nigerians.”
“We are now clearing water debris and hyacinth in some of our channels and we are doing the much we can try to standardise process, having clear data of those who operate on our waterways.
“Like I announced in Warri, Delta State yesterday, in the cause of this tour, we want to enforce the use of permits before boats can enter our waterways because we cannot allow rickety boats to go and waste the lives of Nigerians,” he stated.
He disclosed that the authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with a firm to provide lifejackets across all water formations in Nigeria, adding, “We have started clearing water debris and water hyacinth on some of our channels. We have started training processes in some of our locations.”
He noted that the efforts were part of measures NIWA was putting in place to make inland waterways transportation a preferred transport means in the shortest possible time in the country
He lamented that the nation was losing a lot because people knew very little about NIWA and inland water transportation, noting, “So we are out to get NIWA to the public eye,” he said.
Moghalu earlier inspected facilities at the Yenagoa base of NIWA where he noted the dilapidated state of MIWA facilities, which he said, was inimical to the security of the base.
Several serviceable boats, including passenger and gunboats, had been left to rot away at the base, while most of the perimeter fence had collapsed. The ceiling in the main office had collapsed and the roof leaking.
He, however, promised that the authority would do everything possible to support the Bayelsa area base to recover and meet its targets.