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NIWA COMMISSIONS NEW BOATS TO BEEF UP SECURITY ON INTERNAL WATERWAYS

National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has been challenged on the need to adequately secure the Country's internal waterways, to pave way for an optimal harnessing of the over 10, 000 kilometers of inland waterways the Country is endowed with. 

The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki gave this charge at the commissioning of some newly acquired vessels of the Agency, in Port-Harcourt, on Wednesday.


The Minister said the Inland Waterways is verifiably the cheapest and safest mode of transportation. She said it equally plays a critical role in the mutimodal transportation industry in the Country. 


The Minister was doubly represented by the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu and the General Manager (GM), Marine Services, Engr. Joseph Ororo.  


They informed the audience that the waterways must be dredged to achieve the required draft, adequate survey, mapping, charting with marker bouys and signals put in place and every necessary steps taken to ensure safe navigation.


"A Country blessed with more than 10,000 kilometers of inland Waterways is certainly a nation with great maritime potentials, if such natural endowments are properly harnessed. Inland Waterways is verifiably, the cheapest and safest mode of transportation.


"It is therefore compelling that Waterways must be dredged to achieve the required draft, adequate survey, mapping and charting with marker bouys and signages put in place and every necessary step taken to ensure safe navigation", the Minister's said.


In his address, Moghalu, represented by the General Manager, Maritime Service, Engr. Joseph Ororo, re-iterated that the huge opportunities that abound within the National Inland Waterways can only be maximized in an atmosphere of a strong regulatory framework.


According to Moghalu, the narrative that out of over 10,000 kilometers of inland Waterways, only about 3,000 is navigable all year is not complimentary. He said 28 of the 36 states of the Country can be accessed by water. 


Moghalu disclosed that the Agency had purchased a tug boat, House boat, water ambulance and patrol boats, noting that two patrol boats amongst the vessels being commissioned are only parts of the twenty boats that were recently acquired and are being allocated to various Area Offices.


He noted that roads are choked with excess axle loads which has resulted in very high cost of maintenance, and its attendant loss of lives and property sue to avoidable accidents. 


He added that only a deliberate policy of action plan can reverse this commentary for the better. He consequently stressed the fact that with the newly acquired vessels, security on the Waterways will be enhanced, for the benefit of all stakeholders. 


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