The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Wednesday in Port Harcourt reassured Nigerians of its determination to midwife a safe and economically viable inland waterways in Nigeria.
The NIWA’s Board Chairman, Retired Vice Adm. Ishaya Ibrahim gave the assurance when he led members of the board on inspection tour of NIWA’s Port Harcourt Area Office.
Ibrahim, a former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), also noted that an economically viable inland waterways in Nigeria can only be achieved, when the waterways are charted and secured.
According to him, Nigeria is sitting on a gold mine with various waterways that could boost safer and cheaper transportation industry.
“We are sitting on a goldmine but we do not know how to mine it. The white men came to Nigeria through the water.
“Any nation bound by water like Nigeria is a blessed nation. We need very little efforts to improve our life as a nation, through the waterways.
“We do not only have canals in Nigeria, but God gave us the waterways and we are abusing them,’’ he said, commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his deep interest in NIWA.
Similarly, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, the newly-appointed Managing Director of NIWA, said that transportation through waterways would no doubt reduce pressure on Nigerian roads.
According to the source Maritime First’s report, Mamora, who described Nigeria as a blessed nation through its waterways, said that NIWA Amendment Act currently before the National Assembly would ensure a more effective, operational and efficient NIWA when passed into law.
The Area Manager of Port Harcourt Office of NIWA, Abdullahi Dabai, in his progress report, described the office as one of the oldest and largest area offices of the authority in Nigeria.