Acting Managing Direc
tor of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Danladi Ibrahim, has said the dredging of the Lower River Benue, awarded at a cost of N26 billion, would be completed in two years..
Ibrahim made the disclosure when he visited the Lagos Area Office of NIWA, as maritime activities closed last Friday.
He said the contract was awarded to Messer Oyins Oil and Gas Ltd.
“We have awarded the dredging of Lower River Benue to the tune of N26 billion.
“Also, the dredging of the Lower River Niger is completed and quite a number of boats and jetties are under construction.
“We are all aware that we have completed the Onitsha river port and it will be concessioned to the private sector to operate anytime from now.
“Baro is 95 per cent completed; Lokoja is about 50 to 60 per cent as well as Oguta port. We have awarded the construction of Makurdi river port and any moment from now it will take off,” he said.
Ibrahim also said that NIWA would colllaborate with the riverine states to maintain efficient inland waterways services in the country.
He said that to checkmate over-loading and over-speeding, a code of operation would soon be gazetted and enforced to regulate inland waterways traffic.
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said it would audit the operations of private terminal operators to attain efficiency.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to Ports and Cargo Handling Services Ltd, the port operations arm of the Sifax Group.
Our correspondent reports that Ports and Cargo Handling Services, operating in ‘Terminal C ’ of the Tin-Can Island port, Lagos, is among the 26 private terminal operators given the concession to run ports in Nigeria.
Bello said the idea of auditing the terminal operators was meant to ascertain their equipment and find out the challenges facing them.
In his response, Mr John Jenkins, the Managing Director, Port and Cargo Handling Services Ltd, commended the council for its good policies.
Jenkins said the council’s policy had given terminal operators the hope to remain in operations in Nigeria in spite of the inability to have constant power supply.
“This year, our dwell time has reduced drastically. We will like the council to partner with the terminal operators.
“We have introduced online billing system to reduce human traffic at the port and fast track cargo clearance,’’ Jenkins said.
Our correspondent reports that the Nigerian ports were handed over in a concession exercise to 26 private terminal operators in 2006.
NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port.
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country.
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said.
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace.
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.
MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training
The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend.
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats
The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state.
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said.
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.
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