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Monumental wastes of maritime assets, as Government parastatals lose vision

With increasing loss of vision, and
candour, Government parastatal
within the maritime sub-sector, including the Nigerian Inland Waterways
Authority  (NIWA), the Nigerian Ports Authority  (NPA) and the Nigerian
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency  (NIMASA) may have embarked on
monumental waste of Government assets.

Assets can be described as capital expenditure incurred with the
tax payers labour, but soon after abandoned to waste and decay, either due to
the usual lack of maintenance culture, a loss of original vision, or
unwillingness to sustain the momentum of a past initiative. 

Investigation by NOMMA showed that the current anomaly if not corrected
would not only further fuel waste of Government assets, but become a waiting
snare capable of withering the zeal of incoming appointees who may think it is
the order of the day in the Nigerian Maritime sector.
NIWA Boat in 2016
Same boat in 2019
Worse hit may be the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), which it was learnt procured a giant ferry at hundreds of millions of
Naira, with Government’s funds, named it the MF Onitsha; operated the giant
ferry briefly,  after few years of wastage of resources, thereafter,
 abandoned it. 
MF Onitsha had since been
tucked beyond the public
view, at Oyingbo, and anyone
who hopes to find it may have to seek it out the way archaeologists dig for
It could not be confirmed, but one of our sources highlighted that years
after its abandonment,  the MF Onitsha was brought out and repaired with
about N40m.  It was then deployed to run errands, carrying passengers and
performing such functions around Marina, in Lagos. 
But not much was known of it, especially in terms of any remarkable
performance,  before it was again abandoned at a highly unsecured place at
Oyingbo. That never made ferry totally useless.

Apart from becoming a reliable companion to a gunboat of the Nigeria
Police Force (NPF) at berth, it also served as a towering companion of a number
of fishing, passenger canoes and work vessels sailing by, and several other
boats, who turned the MF Onitsha into living quarters for a mixed crowd of
Before its rehabilitation and relaunch, the MF Onitsha had lain fallow
at berth for long at the Lagos Marina Jetty, serving as a walkway for
passengers boarding and disembarking from other ferries forced to double bank
and use the more sizeable MF Onitsha as berth.
And at an even more ignominious level during those inglorious days, the
MF Onitsha had also served as abode for so-called ‘area boys’ and other
undesirables, as well for sex hawkers who featured there and made brisk
As at Friday, April 5, 2019, the passenger ferry, MF Onitsha, was still
abandoned at the Oyingbo Jetty in Lagos,
a state
it had been since the last 12 ye

The vessel today has deteriorated so much that some informed sources
while wondering how the vessel came to such inglorious retirement, politely
advised that the only solution left for MF Onitsha is to scrap it.
The press team had wanted to know how much million Naira was expended on it before
it was abandoned the second time. But then, NIWA failed to respond.
What is known however, was that, the NIWA proceeded in 2016 to acquire
another boat built in 2016 by Sealink Marine Boatyard Lagos, and actually
launched same in May 2016.
The boat appeared more costly, and could be classed as state of the
art ferry. It was probably procured at mind blowing millions of Naira; and
perhaps being dazed by its sheer beauty simply named it NIWA! Truly, it was a
beauty to behold!
Sadly, in the authority’s usual characteristics,  the costly ferry
merely served for few months, before it was withdrawn out of circulation, so as
to enable it rot!
On Friday April 5,  2019, when NOMMA visited the
ferry once celebrated with funfare in Lekki, it was a none-easily recognised
Variously, efforts were made to get official reaction of NIWA, but visits and messages to the Lagos Area Office General Manager, Mr.
Mu’azu Sambo did not yield results.
When responses were not received from the
Lagos Area Office,
the intervention of the NIWA General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Tayo
Fadile was sought, but he merely advised that the
inquiries be made with Sambo, since the subject of focus was in Lagos.
Determined for a balanced report of the issue
on ground, the team made
round of pursuit for answers from the NIWA Lagos Area Office,
and was told that the initial inquiry was referred
to the Marine Department, which failed to respond even after more than three

The decision reached is to
dedicate quality time to publishing and making public, whatever NIWA finally
comes up with!
But, anyone who believes that NOMMA erred by bringing its report up only
after the assets were gone may adopt a forgiving mood when one realizes that
the case with the NIMASA is still redeemable.

The NIMASA Floating Dock sitting on the Marina waters, Lagos

The nation’s apex maritime body very much knew it had no business
acquiring a floating dock as a regulatory body. It nonetheless acquired one new
built which gulped billions of Naira in 2014. 

 The agency gave two non-ignorable reasons for acquiring it: being
highly capital intensive, it was a no go area for non-governmental body,
despite the dare need for it.
Secondly,  it would help Government attract hard currency for
government, in addition to providing basic laboratory workshop for students of
Maritime University, Okerenkoko when the school finally takes off.
Sadly, when the NIMASA floating dock sailed into the country in early
2018, despite the glowing rays of hope that came with it, the dock is yet to
a dime.
Rather, it had been gulping additional funds, denominated in Dollars,
not  only to provid
e enhanced
security for it where it was tucked, the floating dock is also being maintained
at hush hushed cost!
—To be continued

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