• Friday, June 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Oyetola to inaugurate 12 fibre boats, ambulances for safe water transport

NIWA assures Nigerians of effective security on nation’s waterways

Twelve new fibre-reinforced plastic boats and three water ambulances recently acquired by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) will be commissioned today by Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy.

The deployment of the boats, which are pilot schemes, is part of deliberate efforts to phase out wooden canoes and eliminate incessant boat accidents on the waterways.

To inaugurate this, the minister is expected to embark on a one-day working visit to the NIWA headquarters, in Lokoja, Kogi State, according to Ismail Omipidan, spokesman to the Minister.

The visit, Omipidan said, would allow the Minister to inaugurate some of the landmark projects and programmes executed by NIWA, under the leadership of, Bola Oyebamiji, managing director of NIWA, in the last seven months.

Speaking on the proposed visit, Oyebamiji, said he was excited about the visit because it would allow his team to render an account of its stewardship in the last seven months.

“After receiving my appointment letter about six months ago, the Minister charged me with finding a lasting solution to incessant accidents on the waterways. In response to that charge, my team have already put measures in place to address that situation.

“The first thing we did was to ensure that the Inland Waterways Transportation Regulation (2023) for safety regulations on the inland waterways was gazetted. The process to have the code gazetted had been on for so many years. However, within six months, we have been able to conclude the process,” he said.

He said the code would be launched by the Minister on Tuesday and its implementation will guide the operations of boat operators on the inland waterways, regulate the conduct of passengers using the waterways and provide a framework for potential investors in water transportation.

This, he added, would no doubt help to eliminate incessant accidents on our waterways.

“Also, the minister is expected to inaugurate three water Ambulances for prompt search and rescue operations on the inland waterways. These ambulances would be deployed to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Niger where the water is heavy,” Oyebamiji said.