The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has said it is working with private investors to ensure capital dredging of the sea channels in order to ease sea transportation.
NIWA managing director, Dr George Moghalu, who stated in Abuja when a received the Ad hoc committee on mass transit in his office in Abuja, said the authority is currently engaged in maintenance dredging but would need a capital dredging of all sea channels in Nigeria to ensure there is movement of goods services and persons from one area to another.
He argued that if all channels are open, we can access 28 out of the 36 states in Nigeria through the sea and stated that this would easy the pressure on Nigerian roads.
According to him, “I have always advocated for opening up of our channels to help in the transportation system in Nigeria. We have over 10,000 kilometres on sea and if we open up all channels, we can access 28 states through the sea in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the recent bolt mishaps in the country, the managing director said “we are very unhappy with the water incident recently and our investigation showed that the major causes are human error. Overloading is one of the major causes of the recent bolt mishaps in the country and we are ensuring that we have proper training and policies to ensure that people who operate these bolts understand the risk of overloading and the implications.
“We are recruiting the locals and training them and posting them back to the communities where we have the waterways so that they can talk to their people in their own languages and make them understand the need to maintain proper standard of operation and see.”
Speaking earlier the chairman of the committee, Afam Victor said they were in NIWA to ensure that tej authority is fully involved in any policy regarding the mass transit system in the country.
He stated that the sea is usually a safer place to operate if the policies and protocols are adhered to as there is no traffic that will obstruct the movement of boats across the sea.
He said the committee is looking at having a suitable and efficient water transport system and he believes that NIWA is a critical stakeholder in developing any other mass transit police.