June 14, 2024

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Lagos waterways set for major upgrades as NIWA targets wreck removal, licensing 2,200 boats

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has announced targets for 2024, aiming to enhance the inland waterways infrastructure in Lagos and improve overall safety and efficiency.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Friday, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NIWA, Munirudeen Oyebamiji, outlined several key goals for the year, including removing five wrecks obstructing navigation across the inland waterways in Lagos, licensing 2,200 boats, and training 1,500 skippers.

Oyebamiji emphasized the importance of increasing the navigable waterways in Nigeria, setting a target to dredge an additional 2,000 kilometers, ultimately raising the total navigable inland waterways from 3,000 kilometers to 5,000 kilometers.

According to him, “One of the targets I gave the Area Managers when I resumed is on increasing the number of navigable waterways that we currently have in this country.

“Nigeria has about 10,000kilometres of waterways in this country, but anytime you search via Google, you will always find out that only 3,000kilometres are navigable. I have given the Area Managers a target of increasing navigable waterways in Nigeria from 3,000kilometres to 5,000kilometres.

“This means that as part of the deliverables that I gave the Area Managers, NIWA has to dredge an additional 2,000kilometres of waterways to meet the target of 5,000kilometres of navigable inland waterways.

“Also, another target I gave the Area Managers is tied to the number of jetties that NIWA has. I asked them to give me the number of jetties that they want to add to what they already have. In the next four years, we need to know the number of jetties that we will want to build so that by 2027, we would have said that this number of jetties were built during this period.

“Also, on the issue of wrecks, I gave each Area numbers of wrecks to remove. Lagos, being our busiest Area got a target of five wrecks to remove yearly. Again, on boat operations, I expect 2,200 boats to be licensed on a yearly basis in Lagos. Also, I have charged the Lagos Area Managers to train and license 1,500 Skippers on a yearly basis.

“So all this formed part of the targets that I gave to each Area Managers during our meetings for them to measure their performance in office on a yearly basis. This will let everybody have a sense of direction and know what they are expected to do.”

Oyebamiji explained that Lagos, being the hub of inland waterways activities in Nigeria, has already seen the deployment of five patrol boats focusing on key areas such as Badagry, Badore, Ikorodu, Ijegun, and Marina.

He said the patrol boats will monitor and address waterways issues, including over speeding and overloading, ensuring increased safety and regulatory compliance.

“With the Supreme Court judgement, we cannot afford to have any lapses any longer. Going forward, we have deployed five patrol boats across the waterways in Lagos, being our busiest axis.

“One patrol boat has been taken to Badagry to cover that axis. Another has been taken to Badore; another one has been deployed at Ikorodu; another deployed at Ijegun while the last one is at Marina here.

“The deployment of these patrol boats was strategic. Take for instance the choice of Ijegun. You know Badagry is far, so if anything happens along the waterways leading to Badagry, before the patrol boat stationed in Badagry arrives, the one in Ijegun would have got there.

“The patrol boats have been deployed along this axis to monitor waterways issues like over speeding, overloading and others. The deployment of these patrol boats is just a way of increasing our presence on the waterways.

“We have also installed a Gauge inside the water here in Marina. The Gauge gives us information about the wave movement. It monitors wave movement and gives us information of what to expect every day. The Gauge has a range of monitoring from Marina to Badagry and Ikorodu,” he said.

In addition to Lagos, Oyebamiji said NIWA is exploring plans to deploy boats in the Northern part of the country, addressing safety concerns related to the use of rickety boats.

He said the agency also aims to establish Water Marshals nationwide, replicating successful initiatives already in place in Lagos.

“We are also looking at deploying some boats in the Northern part of the country because accidents happen in this area due to the rickety boats that are used. We also want to have Water Marshals across the country. This is already in place in Lagos, but we want to replicate that nationwide,” he said.

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