By Cliffsimeon Akalonu
As part of the efforts to curtail water transportation accidents, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has reiterated its commitment to build capacity for boat captains and skippers operating in the Lagos waterways.
This was disclosed on Wednesday in Lagos, by the General Manager, Marine Operations, NIWA, Engineer Joseph Ororo at a stakeholders meeting between the agency and boat operators.
Engr. Ororo maintained that, the training will be compulsory for the operators, even as he noted that participants at the end of the schooling would be licensed by the agency as certified captains.
According to him, NIWA with the collaborative support from accredited institution will design a curriculum for training of the skippers.
He said the training will be categorised into three phases, which in turn include practical and theoretical methodology, which will also be extended to executive boat operators.
The General Manager said the move was necessitated against the backdrop of the poor educational background of the skippers and captains in brown waters operations adding that, training of our boat operators is long overdue.
We have started it in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states but Lagos is the centre of excellence.
The Lagos Area Manager NIWA, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah said that the training was centred on how to licence boat operators.
According to her, the certification would last for three years at the end of the training and will be formerly licensed by NIWA.
We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable in whatever they do and what they are doing on the waterways activities.” Engr. Braimah explained”.
Braimah told the stakeholders that awareness on the blue waters alongside the potentials were positioned for economic sustainability but the brown waters has what it takes to also compete with the blue economy.
She noted that the stakeholders in brown waters operation have what it takes to move the sub sector to an enviable level , pointing out that, boat mishaps in recent times can be attributed to carelessness and other human errors.
“Both the operators, both NIWA, we are all guilty of these unfortunate incident on our waterways therefore we want to look for the way forward.
“How can we do it right? Lets even know who are the people piloting our boats. We want to know them and that is why we want them to be licensed. NIWA want to start from somewhere.
She further stated that “We want a proper formal education for our captains because they are not properly educated “.
She also noted that the training programme will be devoid of language barrier as all types of dialects will complement the capacity building project.
The Area Manager urged stakeholders to cooperate with NIWA to end the ravishing boat mishaps on Lagos waterways adding that carelessness on the part of the captains resulted to the accidents that occurred recently.