Transport Minister Commissions 2 Patrol Boats, 32-Passenger Ferries

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Patrol boats
The patrol boats acquired by the National Inland Waterways Authority.

The Minister of Transformation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has commissioned two patrol boats (PB – Gusau and PB – Jalingo) and a 32-seater passenger ferry to enhance operational efficiency and encourage water transportation in the country.       

The former general manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) commissioned the boats when he visited the authority’s area office in Port Harcourt, Rivers, over the weekend. 

“When I came here, a lot of people wondered if we would succeed. But I did not only sustain the level of revenue set by my predecessors, I surpassed them,” he said.        

He commended the managing director, NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu for the giant strides attained. “Seriously, MD,” he started, “l am happy I came here today. If I didn’t, I would not have known the strides you have achieved. Without a doubt, I think, of all the managing directors that have served the authority, you have made the greatest impact. Your tenure has moved the authority from level 5 to level 9”. 

He described inland waterway transportation as the cheapest and safest means of moving goods and persons and key to the development of any country, especially that endowed with water. 

Furthermore, the minister observed 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 operationalise the Marina area office in Lagos which has been identified as a hub for trans-shipping cargoes from Lagos through the inter-coastal routes like Warri and Onitsha. 

Earlier, Moghalu informed that in less than a year, the agency commissioned more than 20 patrol boats, as well as a houseboat, tugboat and water ambulance for distribution to various area offices of the authority.        

According to him, the act is part of the agency’s vision to ensure that the nation’s inland waterways provide 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 maximised if concerted efforts are geared towards the development of infrastructure and proper funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive to players”.  

Also, he disclosed that the authority has licensed several companies for the transportation of cargoes across the waterways in Nigeria, especially from Lagos to decongest it and open up other Inland ports. 

Oluchi Okorafor
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