From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Senator Adeleke Mamora, NIWA MD
In its efforts to ensure early completion of Lokoja River Port, the National Inland Waterways Authority, Lokoja, recently signed N1.6billion contract for the supply and installation of sixty- four ton Mobile Harbour Crane, with Messrs Liebherr Nigeria Limited.
The management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) also said that the agency was doing everything possible to maximize the use of its waterways through constructive engagement of relevant stakeholders.
The Managing Director of NIWA, Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, during the signing ceremony in his office, promised that the organization will not relent in pressuring the federal government to ensure the smooth takeoff of the Lokoja River Port in no distance period.
The MD regretted that NIWA has not been able to carry out maintenance dredging after the capital dredging that was carried out over ten years ago.
While maintaining that the management would continue to work with relevant critical stakeholders to sensitize the public on the advantages of using the waterways, Mamora identified funding as a major challenge to achieving the agency’s set objectives.
He said despite the problem NIWA is currently having with the contractor handling the Lokoja River Port, “My expectation is that Lokoja and by extension, Kogi State as the host of NIWA must maximally benefit from the operation of the agency.
The MD attributed the cause of the various boat mishaps in recent times to non adherence to simply safety rules by operators, saying that violations like, overloading, improper sitting arrangements which caused the boat to loose balance, over speeding night navigation, use of hard substance as major causes of boat mishap.
He however, noted that the management was doing everything to ensure safety on its water channels, such as enlightenment campaign, advocacy and sanctions against the offenders
The Baro River Port was commissioned recently by President Muhammadu Buhari , the Onitsha River Port has also been commissioned, while the Oguta River Port was said to be nearing completion.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, the Managing Director of Messrs Liebherr Nigeria Limited, Mr Hermann Wohnhas, promised to work hard to deliver the project within the stipulated time.