• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Minister commissions 3 patrol boats, ferryboat to enhance NIWA’s operations

Supreme Court upholds NIWA as authentic inland waters’ regulator

Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the minister of transportation, has commissioned three patrol boats and a 32-seater ferryboat acquired by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Area Office in Port Harcourt.

A statement by Eric Ojiekwe, director of Press & PR of the ministry, said the patrol boats and a ferry would enhance the operations of the Authority and encourage water transportation.

The Minister, who was the former managing director of the Agency, disclosed that while he was with NIWA, he did not only maintain the revenue set by his predecessors but also surpassed it.

He commended George Moghalu, the managing director of NIWA for the giant strides attained, adding that the present management has moved the Authority from level 5 to level 9.

He described inland water transportation as the cheapest and safest means of moving goods and persons, adding that inland water is critical to the development of any country that is endowed with water.

The Minister said that Nigeria is blessed in that regard as 28 states of the Federation can be accessed by water, hence the need to develop the inland water transport sector.

While promising to provide support in any capacity, he called on the NIWA boss to quickly operationalise the Marina Area Office in Lagos, which has been identified as a hub for trans-shipping cargoes from Lagos through the intercoastal routes like Warri and Onitsha.

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Earlier, Moghalu, the managing director of NIWA, said that in less than a year, the Agency has commissioned more than 20 patrol boats, a houseboat, a tugboat, and a water ambulance for distribution to various Area offices of the Authority. According to him, the move was part of the Agency’s vision to ensure that the nation’s inland waterways provide a truly safe, efficient, cost-effective, and alternative mode of transportation of goods and persons as well as become competitive and attractive.

“The huge opportunities that abound in the nation’s inland waterways can only be maximised if concerted efforts are geared towards the development of infrastructure and proper funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive to players,” he said.

He also disclosed that the Authority has licensed several companies for the transportation of cargoes across the waterways in Nigeria, especially from Lagos in order to decongest it and open up other inland ports.