Nigeria: Parliament Charges NIMASA, NIWA On Strategic Approach For Safety On Coastlines

By Enyichukwu Enemanna

In response to incessant oil bunkering, sea piracy and boat mishaps on Nigerian waterways in recent times, the House of Representatives has challenged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to develop strategic and implementable guidelines that will mitigate the loss of lives and valuables in the country’s coastal lines.

This follows the adoption of a motion by a member of Parliament, Rodney Ambaiowei on “tackling the menace of incessant boat/water craft mishaps in Nigerian oastal lines/waterways.”

The country’s “coastline spans about 853km (530miles) and over 3000km of navigable inland water channel with great potential for inland cargo and passenger transportation,” Ambaiowei informed his colleagues in a lead debate.

The lawmaker expressed concern that over the years, there had been constant cases of criminality, including illegal oil bunkering, piracy and sea robbery and illegal fishing activities amongst others, on the waterways.

There had also been several deaths on the waterways arising from boat mishaps, across the country, he stated.

“The absence of regulatory guidelines for boat building maintenance and operations in Nigeria coastlines and waterways, as well as inadequate on-board navigation lights; navigation rules violation; operators’ inexperience and inattention, illiteracy and non-chalant attitude of boat operators are common courses of most of the boat mishaps”, he said while leading the debate on the floor of the House.

Ambaiowei posited further, ”that economic benefit of waterways transportation and its activities are responsible for a wide range of indirect value – added and employment effects through linkages of transport with other economic sectors.”

He expressed worry that if the “challenges are not addressed forthwith as patriotic and worthy Nigerians, the plethora of deaths and insecurity being recorded daily in Nigeria’s coastlines and waterways could skyrocket thereby having serious negative impact on our socio- economic development which will definitely be against the vision of the new administration. ”

Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas in response also urged the National Orientation Agency ( NOA) and National Meteorological Agency to drive an awareness campaign on safety measures necessary to prevent boat and water craft hazards.

Credit GistNew

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