By Cliffsimeon Akalonu
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has inaugurated a joint task force team in Lagos state, which comprises all security and law enforcement agencies to bring to enforce safety on the waterways.
According to NIWA, the essence of inaugurating a joint task force team is to maintain and enforce all safety measures being applied on the waterways by the authority.
Speaking during a bstakeholders meeting at NIWA Area office in Lagos recently, the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, said that the enforcement is not all about NIWA jetties alone but for all jetties including private and government-owned jetties.
He said that the introduction of the newly inaugurated joint task force in Lagos will spread across all riverine areas in Nigeria. “We have distributed 20 patrol boats so far and more processes are on the ground to acquire more boats.
“We are in collaboration with all other security and law enforcement agencies because the lives we are losing on the waterways every day are human beings “, Moghalu said.
Moghalu further revealed that the agency has started automation of boat registration to create sanity, ease of doing business, reduce physical interference, except on inspection and it is cost saving. With this development, one can register and re-register his/her boat in any part of the country and get notified/alert three months before the expiration time.
NIWA boss noted that provision of navigational aid will be made in due time but appealed to the general public to stop vandalization and stealing of water lines, lights and other facilities on the waterways.
He also promised that more boats will be acquired on Lagos – Badagry and Lagos – Ikorodu routes, as long as resources are available.
Dr George Moghalu explained that in most mishaps, people blame captains of recklessness and “that was what motivated us into opening a training school in Warri and in partnership with another company for the training of captains and boat crew members.
“It is our mandate to train captains and boat crew and so far, NIWA has trained over two hundred captains and boat crew in Warri, Yenogoa, Port Harcourt and others”.
In a goodwill message, the President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), Engr. Balogun Tarzan, said that is experimental that NIWA promised to make water transport viable and convenient is gradually coming to fulfilment and the evidence is clear.
Engr Balogun (The Boat Man), praised Moghalu, stating that he has achieved a lot within a short period of 2yrs in office, “despite coming in during covid19 period and we as an association will keep supporting you to achieve more.
“Recall that the NIWA MD provided us with three jetties during the Covid19 era namely: Oyingbo, Adekunle and Lekki and today he is giving us three patrol boats to support enforcement of laws and follow due protocols as it concerns water transportation and allied. We say thank you”. Tarzan said.
The Life Time Achiever Award-Winning Tarzan Balogun, who never relent in asking for more also on behalf of ATBOWATON and sister associations asked the Federal government of Nigeria through NIWA, to provide navigational aids and site fuel stations on the waterways.
In a brief remark, the Lagos Area Manager, (NIWA), Engr. Sarat Lara Braimah, thanked Dr. George Moghalu for his quick response towards this project by “providing us with three patrol boats and marine ambulances show that he is committed and eager to transform the water economy by making sure that rules and regulations, protocols are observed”.
Engr. Sarat also confirmed that the newly inaugurated joint taskforce team will commence training on what to do with the waterways on October 4.