By Godwin Oritse
THE National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has concluded plans to bring about the development of the nation’s inland waterways transport just as it has pledged the full implementation of the national transport code.
NIWA’s Acting Managing Director, Barr. Danladi Ibrahim recently unfolded his plans towards a total transformation of the services currently being rendered, highlighting the need for NIWA to be financially independent, within the next two years.
He disclosed this in Lagos when he visited the State Area Office yesterday.
The transformation, he also indicated, would include the carrying along of operators relevant blue chip companies, as critical stakeholders; the development of a multi-story ultra-modern office complex in Lagos, for revenue generation and the introduction of hover-barges technology, in the operations of Inland waterways administration in Nigeria. The NIWA boss confirmed that the federal government has awarded the contract of dredging the lower river Benue at the tune of N26billion, adding that the contractor, indicated as Messer Oyins Oil and Gas Limited has two years to deliver the project.
“We have awarded the dredging of lower river Benue for a tune of 26billion. Also, the dredging of the lower River Niger is completed and quite a number of boats and jetties are under construction, we are all aware that we have completed the Onitsha river port and it will be concessioned to the private sector to operate any time from now.“Baro is 95 percent completed, Lokoja is about 50 to 60 percent as well as Oguta port. We have awarded the construction of Markurdi rivers port and any oment from now it will take off”, hestated, stressing that he was briging in his almost 20 years experience in the field, to ensure that both the government and the peple timely enjoy the gains of inlan waterways services that meets the global standards.
“We are doing everything possible to become the best inland water ways transportation manager in Africa”, he concluded.
Speaking further, the Managing Director emphasized that henceforth, NIWA management would begin to collaborate with the Governments of the riverine states to maintain efficient inland waterways services in the country, as the days of confrontation was over.
“As it relates to the conflict between NIWA and state governments, not only Lagos State, we have this issue with several other states, Rivers, Bayelsa, and most of the riverine states. Actually, this conflict has really affected development of inland waterways greatly.
“What we intend to do this time around, is to collaborate with these states. Any moment from now, we will be visiting all the states governors that we have issues with and collaborate.
“We believe that by collaborating, this issue will be resolved and inland waterways will be better for it, instead of legal tussles and conflicts. I don’t see any reason why state and federal government cannot collaborate to develop the economy,” Ibrahim said.
Speaking on the issue of monitoring operators to ensure safety standards by checkmating the challenges of over-crowing and over-speeding, the managing director said the issue would be addressed with the gazetting of a code of operation.
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