Sambo commissions 3 patrol boats, 32-seater ferry boat at NIWA Port Harcourt Area office
The Hon. Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, on Friday visited the National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) Port Harcourt Area Office, where he commissioned three patrol boats and a 32-seater ferry boat, to enhance operational efficiency as well as encourage water transportation.
The Minister who was a former General Manager of the Agency disclosed that while he was at the helm of affairs there, he did not only maintain the amount of revenue set by his predecessors, but surpassed it.
“When I came here, a lot of people were wondering if we are going to succeed. But I did not only sustain the level of revenue that was sustained by my predecessors, but I even surpassed them,” he said.
He commended the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, for the giant strides attained, saying: “Seriously, MD, l am happy I came here today. If I didn’t come, I would not have known the strides you have achieved. Without doubts, I think you have made the greatest impacts of all the Managing Directors that have served the Authority”. “Your tenure has moved the Authority from level 5 to Level 9.”
He described inland water way transportation as the cheapest and safest means of moving goods and persons and key to development of any country, especially that endowed with water.
The Minister also said that Nigeria is blessed in that regard as 28 States of the Federation can be accessed by water, hence the need to develop the sector.
While promising to provide support in any capacity, he called on the MD to quickly operationalize the Marina Area Office in Lagos which has been identified as a hub for trans- shipping cargoes from Lagos through the intercoastal routes like Warri and Onitsha.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, NIWA, Dr. Moghalu, said that in less than one year, the Agency commissioned more than 20 patrol boats, as well as a house boat, tugboat and water ambulance for distribution to various Area Offices of the Authority.
According to him, the act was part of the Agency’s vision to ensure that the nation’s Inland waterways provides a truly safe, efficient, cost effective and alternative mode of transportation of goods and persons as well as become competitive and attractive.
Speaking further, Moghalu said: “the huge opportunities that abound in the nation’s Inland waterways can only be maximized if concerted efforts are geared towards the development of infrastructure and proper funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive to players.”
He added that the Authority had licensed several companies for the transportation of cargoes across the waterways in Nigeria, especially from Lagos so as to decongest the city and open up other inland ports.