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Minister set to commission 12 NIWA boats, three water ambulances June 11



Adegboyega Oyetola.webp

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, will on Tuesday embark on a one-day working visit to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Lokoja, Kogi State, to inaugurate 12 fibre-reinforced plastic fast-moving boats and three water ambulances.

This was disclosed in a statement by the spokesman to the Minister, Ismail Omipidan, at the weekend.

The visit, the minister’s aide noted, would afford the Minister the opportunity to inaugurate some of the landmark projects and programmes executed by NIWA under the leadership of the Managing Director, Bola Oyebamiji, in the last seven months.

The deployment of the boats, which are pilot schemes, is part of deliberate efforts to phase out wooden canoes with a view to eliminating incessant accidents on the waterways.

Speaking on the proposed visit, the NIWA MD, Oyebamiji, noted that he was excited about the visit, as it would afford his team the opportunity to render its stewardship account in the last seven months of assumption of office.

He further said, “After receiving my appointment letter about six months ago, the Minister charged me to find a lasting solution to incessant accidents on the Waterways.

“Today, I am happy to note that, in response to that charge, my team and I have already put measures in place to address that situation.

“The first thing we did was to ensure that the Inland Waterways Transportation Regulation (2023) for safety regulations on the inland waterways was gazetted.

“The process to have the code gazetted had been on for so many years. However, within 6 months, we have been able to conclude the process.

“The code would be launched by the Honourable Minister on Tuesday.

“Once launched, it will guide the operations of boat operators on the inland waterways, regulate the conduct of passengers using the waterways, and provide a framework for potential investors in water transportation.

“This would no doubt help to eliminate incessant accidents on our waterways.

“Also, the minister is expected to inaugurate three water ambulances for prompt search and rescue operations on the inland waterways.

“These ambulances would be deployed to Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Niger, where the water is heavy,” Oyebamiji noted.