Nigeria inland waterways will be redefined to play strategic roles in the movement of goods and services across the country. To this end, the organised Boat Operators and Water Transporters have been challenged to take advantage of the navigable channels to open and expand opportunities for water transportation economy.
Dr. George Moghalu, Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), disclosed that there is still the national question on what Nigerian Boat Operators have done with the 3,500 navigable channels across the country, promising to assist them find their bearings.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (Atbowaton) which held on Wednesday at Gombe jewel hotel, Abuja, Dr. Moghalu stated that NIWA is determined to get containers bearing heavy duty vehicles out of Nigerian highways to the waters to avoid pressures and damage to roads infrastructure.
“It is sad to see the damage done to our roads by containers bearing heavy duty vehicles, and which ordinarily can be moved easily through our inland waterways. We shall continue to advocate that such trucks should be kept off the highway and containers and heavy equipment be transported through the waters.”
Moghalu revealed that a contract for the construction of a jetty in Illa, Delta state will be awarded soon, commending ATBOWATON members for the long years of dedication and sacrifice for the growth of water transportation business in Nigeria.
Moghalu who presented an atbowaton branded face cap and inducted Mr. Frank Meke, a maritime and cultural tourism development journalist as a member, Board of Trustees of ATBOWATON, commended the selfless service and passion to which Meke brought to bear in the reporting and advocacy on marine transportation and tourism.
Earlier, the President of ATBOWATON, Mr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, praised the efforts of NIWA to change the narrative of water transportation in Nigeria and for also carrying the association along in its programs across the country.
Other dignitaries at the well-attended meeting, were the acting president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr. Nkerewuem Onung, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, President National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) and Justina Ovat, President, Women in Hospitality.