By Ajibola Abayomi
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has assured waterways operators that it would introduce special squad under the code name “Waterways Transportation Marshals” to aid in monitoring and enforcing safety and maritime security rules within the brown waters.
Managing Director ,NIWA , Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora disclosed this during interview with newsmen in Lagos.
As part of his short term project, he said the authority has commenced work towards ensuring to put an end to the existence of illegal jetties in the waterways, pointing out that the new department would tackle such issues.
The MD said that it would embark on auditing boats and other crafts operating in the waterways to determine those that can be classified sea worthy.
According to him, some of the crafts were not worthy to operate on the waterways talk less of conveying passengers from one point to the other.
“One of the things we are introducing, is what we can call waterways transportation marshals so that they would be there not necessarily to start arresting people but what we are interested in is to continue to drum these things in and to take ownership of their own safety.
” Issue of security is everybody’s business and particularly, the users themselves.
“They need to take ownership of their own personal safety. So, that is the idea of the immediate response to this incessant accidents”, he said .
Mamora added that “We also have some illegal jetties being operated, that’s where the issue of the waterway marshals will come in.
“The enforcement is not just in terms of the users, but the operators too. We must ensure that the crafts are registered, we will do audit of crafts in particular area and be able to say this one is waterway worthy or not and then do our enforcement.
“We are also looking at the medium term in which we will be doing a lot of patrol.
” Dont forget, we have vast inland waterways coverage so we know our limitations in terms of personnel, logistics but we need patrol boats to be able to do this.
”We will also as much as possible within the funds available to us to be able to have the personnel and patrol boats to ensure this medium measures.
He hinted that the faceoff between NIWA and LASWA, the MD affirmed that the authority would seek for out of court settlement to encourage the flow of revenue drive for both parties involved in water transportation business.