The Lagos Area Office of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has giving guidelines for inland waterways transportation, dredging and other related activities in a stakeholders meeting held yesterday, at the i Garden lekki phase1.
Speaking to Stakeholders, the Area Manager, NIWA Lagos, Engr. Sarat Braimah said that dredging on the national inland Waterways in Lagos is not going to be what it used to be before and that by January ending 2020, those who do not have dredging permit will not be allowed to dredge.
She said that community development should be one of the primary area of concern by dredgers but the case is the reverse in the sense that Obas and Chiefs from the dredging communities do not know most those dredging in their areas and that is why we want to take it up by our selves to monitor the dredging activities that is why we are advising everyone to join the dredging association because we want to know those we are dealing with.
She asked dredging companies to stop causing wrecks and laying of pipes here and there thereby, blocking navigational ways. She also asked them to key into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the communities they are dredging from so as there will be understanding.
She said barge operations started not quite long ago, in fact it is new to inland waterways operations, and within few months of kickoff we have started getting complaints of containers falling off into the waters. The reason behind the introduction of this Barge thing, was that we want to reduce traffic congestion in the state. From now on, we are only going to give permit to those who are fit for Barge operations in Lagos state, she said”.
Engnr. Braimah while addressing stakeholders said, NIWA is organizing a 3days training for boat captains and crew which will be coming up in December 6th, at sea school. She urged everyone in Maritime organization to come partake in the well packaged training as lecturers of the training will be drawn from all the major languages of Nigeria. It is also important for everyone that has a boat, both commercial and private to partake in the up coming training which certificates will be given after the training and will be used to register boats from next year.
She also mandated dredgers to have water sediment pot where all the waters will be channeled to so as it will not split everywhere in the communities. She said, for now water transporters should stop moving at night anything 6pm, because we are not yet there as a country to operate at night. Boat operators should also start the process of insurance and from next year we will not take it easy with operators who fail to insure their boats.
Responding, the Oba’s who were present at the Stakeholders meeting responded that, we expect dredgers to do what is needful but they choose to do otherwise forgetting that if anything happened, it is the Obas the government will hold responsible. Secondly, it is very wrong and dangerous for a dredging company to operate 30metres close to a living house. NIWA should be an intermediator between the operations of dredgers and community relation.
In a remark, the past President of Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Engnr. Yomi Idowu who represented the President of the Association, Mr. Batare, said that NIWA should consider the economic downturn of the country and reduce the amount of charges they charge dredgers which will tremendously increase the purse of NIWA by bringing more people into participation.
Giving a goodwill message, the President, National Association of Tourist Boat and Water Transportation of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), Engnr. Gani Tarzan, said both NIWA, dredgers and every other person operating on the waterways are brothers and for that reason, all we are saying is there should be an enabling ground for us to operate by regulators.
He said what we do today is what will speak for us tomorrow. He asked NIWA to introduce a huge waste bin on the waterways, put signage on our waterways. It should not be permit all the time because there is no way the federal government can work with out the state and the Local government without the communities.