By Cliffsimeon Akalonu
The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief (Dr) George Moghalu, has visited Lagos Area Office as part of his 27 visits/tour to areas offices across the nation, which Lagos happens to be the 12th visit.
According to him, “one of the greatest challenges we are facing here in Lagos is the Apapa gridlock, assuming you want to clear 1000 containers and send them to the East, with a clear calculation you can see that one container is for one truck and automatically you will have one thousand trucks on the road which the roads we have are not designed to carry heavy luggage, that is why I have started clearing more channels so as barge operations can help to ease traffic on our roads.
“Today as we speak, Baro river port is 100% completed, Onitsha river port is completed, Lokoja – Yamata river ports is 62% completed.
“Oguta river port is about 60% completed, before it was abandoned 10 years ago before my coming into office, and I will make sure within my strength that it is completed, because if we can get this ports functional, I can assure you that all the burden and stress on our roads will certainly be reduced and we create avenue for employment.”
He noted that since he assumed office four months ago, “we have commenced the construction of six new jetties in Anambra, Benue and others and work is on going as we speak.
“The water ways have greater potentials and development of communities is part of it, so I call on all stakeholders both old and new to key in so as we can invest in it”.
He appeal to private sector investors to come in, and that the agency is ready to do whatever it takes to support them and to make sure that they have value on their investment.
He also pointed that the issues between the Lagos state government and the Federal government is being addressed to the highest level as “I was in talks with the Lagos state government and we have agreed to put up a joint team that will move to work immediately so as there will be no more conflict whatsoever again”.
Speaking during the stakeholders forum, Engnr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, who is the National President, ATBOWATON, and MD/CEO, Tarzan Boats, said “we need encouragement from the federal government”.
In a comment, the Chairman Shippers Forum, Mrs. Orakusi, said that “the potentials we have on our water ways is untapped and must be addressed”.
Speaking on security, the Managing Director, Ches Dredging Ltd, Yomi Idowu, said that something should be done about security of lives and property on the waters.