The Management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has cautioned members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) not to bring act of hooliganism and other forms of unholy behaviours into the operations of the Inland Waterways.
Lagos, Area Manager, NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah, gave this warning while receiving the leadership of the Waterfront Boat Owners and Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN) in her office.
She questioned why MWUN wants to be collecting money from boat operators through the use of force.
“In recent weeks, members of the MWUN have been harassing boat operators for levies, threatening to replicate what happens in motor park garages on the waterways. We won’t accept that.
“MWUN (members) have said they want to see me, but I told them I cannot sit with them for now because of the way they are going about collection of levies from boat operators.
“MWUN should not bring hooliganism to the waterways. If they cannot go about collection of levies peacefully and professionally, then NIWA won’t have anything to do with them.
“That’s why NIWA needs to know the members of this new association. Who are they? Are they related to water? Where do they operate from? This and many more need answers.
“It is important that as a new Association, WABOTAN ensures the use of modern boats in the carriage of passengers across the waterways.
“We expect WABOTAN to improve waterways navigation, and not worsen it. I know the President of WABOTAN, Babatope Fajemirokun, and I know his passion for waterways development. I know he operates from Badagry.
“I hope other members of WABOTAN share this passion for improvement in waterways development.
“Why I am asking about this is because we wouldn’t want this association to be about just forming a new association.
“We want to know your objectives and challenges that made you think a new association needs to come up.
“We need to know, so that we know we are on the same page. Waterways Operations is developing every year. That’s why I keep telling operators to embrace technology. Two-Stroke engine is no longer fashionable for boat operations globally, and we won’t want to have people promoting such on our waterways.
“We know it’s not easy economically as of today, but we have to be striving to ensure we attain perfection on our inland waterways.
“Again, we at NIWA, will like to know your membership strength and where your members operate from so that when issues arise, I can easily know who is involved”, she explained.
Earlier, President, WABOTAN, Babatope Fajemirokun, said the Association has members across the littoral states of Nigeria.
“As you are looking at us, we are all boat owners. We are ready to work with NIWA in all areas.
“Our objectives include safety and security on our waterways. We will also be training and re-training our members to develop and build manpower for the transport sector.
“We will also be creating a database and assist NIWA in collecting revenue.
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Fuel Price Hike: PH, Bonny Passengers May Pay N4,000 Before Christmas
Following the increase in petrol pump price in Rivers State to N230 per liter, Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) says passengers travelling to Bonny Island from Port Harcourt may have to pay N4,000 each before Christmas.
The Association said boat operators along Bonny routes are facing difficulties in getting petrol to power their boats to the Island.
BMTA said the petroleum pump price has also forced the prices of spare parts beyond the reach of the poor.
Disclosing this to The In Port Harcourt in a telephone interview, Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kim Dimkpa, expressed regret that passengers to the Island are passing through difficulties, saying since the petroleum pump price hike, passengers now pay N3,000 to Bonny
He insisted that if the pump price is not checked, the Association would be forced to increase the fair to N4,000 before Christmas.
Dimkpa said in the past when the pump price were N150 per liter, fair to Bonny was N2,000 to ,N2,500 per passenger.
The Safety Officer appealed to relevant government agencies responsible for control of the pump price to come to the aid of the masses in Nigerian by ensuring that the price remains affordable.
“I call on the NNPC, and other relevant agencies for the control of petroleum pump price to assist the masses and reduce the price to N150 per litre to save lives.
“Boat operators, bus drivers and other end users depend daily on the product to survive.
“Our leaders are not helping matters, the masses are dying everyday of economic hardships, the rich are getting richer every day, while the poor masses are dying of hunger and starvation in the midst of plenty”, Dimkpa said.
He appealed to State Governors and other stakeholders in the industry to intervene in reverting to the old pump price of N150 per liter for consumers.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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