The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has urged organised boat operators and water transporters in Nigeria to use the navigable channels to expand opportunities for water transportation economy.
NIWA’s Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu, made the observation at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) held on Wednesday in Abuja.
Moghalu’s advice is contained in a statement signed by NIWA’s Public Relations Consultant, Mr Frank Meke, on Thursday in Lagos.
He noted that there was still the national question on what the Nigerian Boat Operators had done with the 3,500 navigable channels across the country, promising to assist them to find their bearings.
According to the managing director, the agency is determined to get containers bearing heavy duty vehicles out of Nigerian highways to the waters, to avoid pressures and damage to roads infrastructure.
“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, including heavy equipment, be transported through the waters,” he said.
Moghalu stated that a contract for the construction of a jetty in illa, Delta, 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 turn-out of members of the association from over 20 states, an indication that its future and water transportation is bright.”
Moghalu presented an ATBOWATON branded face cap and inducted Frank Meke, an accomplished maritime and cultural tourism development journalist, as a Member, Board Of Trustees of ATBOWATON.
He commended the selfless service and passion Meke brought to bear on the reporting and advocacy on marine transportation and tourism.
Earlier, the President of ATBOWATON, Mr Gani 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. (NAN)