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FG to expand waterways to 5,000km

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola says plans are underway to expand the country’s waterways from 3,000 to 5,000 kilometres as part…

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola says plans are underway to expand the country’s waterways from 3,000 to 5,000 kilometres as part of efforts to boost efficiency.

The minister made the disclosure yesterday in Lokoja at the unveiling of the official gazette of the Inland Waterways Transportation Regulations 2024 and the commissioning of eight projects by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)

He said the water transportation code had finally come alive after several years of being in the pipeline, adding that it would standardise water transportation and reduce accidents on the waters to the barest minimum. 

Speaking on the expansion of Nigeria’s waterways he said, “The ministry is aware that out of the 10,000 kilometres of our waterways, only 3,000 kilometres are navigable. We are determined to increase them by at least 2,000 kilometres. This is why it is desirable for us to embark on a holistic dredging of strategically important inland waterways for the passage of goods and people. 

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“Similarly, the ministry is engaging relevant stakeholders to finalise the arrangement for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) for the development of the maritime sector.”

In his remarks, the managing director/chief executive officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Bola Oyebamiji, said that apart from the water transportation code, other projects being inaugurated include  “15 boats of varying capacities and uses, comprising 3 boats with 150Horsepower each for surveillance to ensure that NIWA police officers are more visible; 5 boats with doubles 75Horsepower each for enforcement of safety rules and regulations; one 1 gun patrol boat (combat ready) with 115Horsepower for emergency response to security threat; and 1 62-seater passenger boat as a pilot scheme to replace the wooden passenger canoe, among others,”

He said Nigeria recorded not less than three fatal boat accidents on the waterways in different locations in the last one year, adding that, “The agency has equally discovered gaps in the approach to enforcement on the waterways, which is what the waterways code will strengthen.”

Also speaking, the Kogi State governor, who was represented by his deputy, Joel Oyibo Salifu, expressed the state government’s commitment to partner with NIWA in attracting investments to the country’s waterways.

 

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