Boat Mishaps: NIMASA, NIWA To Make Water Transport Safer

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By John Akubo.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are set to make water transportation safe and viable mode of transportation devoid of boat mishaps.

This was contained in a statement by the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maj.-Gen Jonathan India Garba (rtd.) while commiserating with the families of the victims of the recent marine accidents.

The boat mishaps in Munya local government area of Niger state and Bagudo local government area of Kebbi state which collectively claimed over a hundred lives.

The NIMASA boss in the release signed by an aide, Adakole Ejegbudu, and made available to reporters yesterday said NIMASA and NIWA were exploring ways of pulling their knowledge base and other resources together to achieve their shared mandate.

It explained that they would achieve that mandate with other stakeholders in making water transportation a safe and viable mode so they can play their part in fulfilling the dream of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to fully develop a truly intermodal transport system in the nation.

“I hope to share news of a concrete collaboration strategy between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA ) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and other relevant stakeholders soon.”
He said as a father and a citizen he felt a deep sense of loss.

“I wish to use this medium to extend my heartfelt condolences to all those who lost loved ones in these terrible accidents and to the governors of those states, their excellencies Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger and Sen Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

“A few days ago I put out a press statement commending the leadership of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for keeping the nation’s waterways navigable and for their vision of making all 10,000 km of our waterways viable.

“I stand with the leadership of NIWA in this period of mourning and share in their renewed resolve to make marine transportation safer.”

He said recent events on the Nigerian waterways do not inspire public confidence however he observed that for Marine transportation to be seen and utilized as a sustainable and viable mode of transportation it must be safe.

“This is the challenge that all stakeholders must rise up to. As is often said in the maritime world, all hands must be on deck.”

He aligned with the recent statement by the Corps Marshall Mr Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi for the development of rail and marine transport so as to ease the pressure on the roads and consequently reduce the frequency of road accidents.

He said NIMASA believes in the vision of the Honourable Minister for Transport, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for establishing a truly intermodal transport system and the underlying need for interagency co-operation.

“The governing board of NIMASA has made it clear several times that we are willing to collaborate with various MDAs in improving the efficiency and safety of transportation and for the greater good of the nation. I restate that commitment now.

“I am aware that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) already has a sensitization and awareness program for stakeholders and waterways users. This is a step in the right direction.

“I call on Civil Society Organizations and well meaning citizens to volunteer and play a role in this sensitization program.”

He said besides sensitization ,there are other issues to address such as education/ training of operators, utilization of safe and stable vessels , enforcement of rules and regulations and provision of relevant infrastructure and navigational aids, fast disaster response capability and a well articulated policy to guide stakeholders, investors and operators.

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