The Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has expressed its readiness to get containers bearing heavy duty vehicles out of Nigerian highways to the waters as part of measures to avoid pressures and damage to roads infrastructure.
Dr. George Moghalu, Managing Director, NIWA, disclosed that there was still the national question on what Nigerian Boat Operators has done with the 3,005 navigable channels across the country, promising to assist boat operators to find their bearings.
The NIWA boss spoke at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) held Wednesday in Abuja.
He noted that the agency would be redefined to play strategic roles in the movement of goods and services across the country. He added that the organised boat operators and water transporters had been challenged to take advantage of the navigable channels to open and expand opportunities for water transportation economy.
Moghalu stated that NIWA was determined to get containers bearing heavy duty vehicles out of Nigerian highways to the waters to avoid pressures and damages to roads infrastructure.
In his words, “It is sad to see the damage done to our roads by containers bearing heavy duty vehicles, and which ordinarily can be moved easily through our inland waterways. We shall continue to advocate that such trucks should be kept off the highway and containers and heavy equipment be transported through the waters”.
Moghalu revealed that a contract for the construction of a jetty in Illa, Delta State, would be awarded soon, commending ATBOWATON members for the long years of dedication and sacrifice for the growth of water transportation business in Nigeria.
“No doubt ATBOWATON is our partner in progress and deserves our support. We at NIWA are happy to see the huge turnout of ATBOWATON members from over twenty states, an indication that the future of the association and water transportation is bright”.
NIWA helmsman later presented an ATBOWATON branded faze cap to Mr. Frank Meke, an accomplished maritime and cultural tourism development journalist and inducted him as a member, Board Of Trustees of ATBOWATON. He commended him for the selfless service and passion which he brought to bear in the reporting and advocacy on marine transportation and tourism.
Earlier, the President of ATBOWATON Mr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, praised the efforts of NIWA to change the narratives of water transportation in Nigeria and for also carrying the association along in its programmes across the country.