NIWA to License Boats to Operate in Nigeria’s Waterways - THISDAY
by Onungwe Obe in Yenagoa
The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, has said soon boats and water vessels that do not have permits issued by the Authority will not be allowed in the Nigeria’s inland waterways.
Moghalu, who stated this during his visit to NIWA’s operational base in Yenagoa, the Bayesla State capital, wednesday, said all boats using the waterways would have to meet safety standards.
“We are going to play clearly and strictly our regulatory roles. We are going to enforce the use of permits before boats can enter the waterways because we cannot allow rickety vessels to waste the lives of Nigerians,” he said.
NIWA boss disclosed that the Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a firm to provide lifejackets across all water formations in Nigeria.
“We have started clearing water debris and water hyacinth on some of our channels. We have also started training processes in some of our locations,” Moghalu added.
All these, he said, were part of measures NIWA was puting in place to make inland waterway transportation the transport means of choice in the shortest possible time in the country.
He lamented that the country was losing a lot because people knew very little about NIWA and inland water transportation, adding: “So we are out to get NIWA to the public eye.”
The NIWA managing director has earlier inspected facilities at the Yenagoa base of the Authority where he noted with dismay the dilapidated state of the facilities, which he said was inimical to the security of the base.
Many serviceable boats, including passenger and gunboats, had been left to rot away while most of the perimeter fence had collapsed. The ceiling in the main office had collapsed and the roof was leaking, it was learnt.
The MD, however, promised that the Authority would do everything possible to support the Bayelsa State base to recover and meet its targets.