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Oyetola Unveils Transport Code for Inland Water

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The Federal Government has unveiled a new transportation code aimed at curbing the high rate of boat-related accidents on Nigerian inland waterways.

Inaugurating the code during a one-day working visit to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Lokoja, Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, said the new regulatory framework is expected to standardise water transportation, minimise accidents, and provide a structured environment for potential investors.

The Minister commended the management of NIWA for the efforts put into bringing the vital code to fruition.

Oyetola also inaugurated other projects aimed at enhancing the operational capabilities and safety standards of Nigeria’s inland waterways.

The minister said the maritime sector plays a critical role in improving Nigeria’s balance of trade, strengthening the naira, and creating employment.

“The Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is determined to maximise the comparative advantages our maritime resources present in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda,” he said.

The projects inaugurated include 15 boats of various capacities and purposes, designed to enhance surveillance, safety enforcement, and emergency response on Nigeria’s waterways.

The fleet comprises three surveillance boats, five safety enforcement boats, a gun patrol boat, a 62-seater passenger boat as a pilot scheme to replace traditional wooden canoes, three water ambulances, and two hydrographic survey boats equipped with multi-beam echo sounders.

“These initiatives fulfil our commitment to ensuring our inland waterways are well-used for cargo shipment and passenger transportation,” Oyetola said.

He pledged to address internal and external challenges impeding NIWA’s operations, ensuring continuous improvement and expansion of navigable waterways.

On the ministry’s plans, Oyetola said there is a goal to increase navigable waterways by at least 2,000 kilometres through comprehensive dredging.

According to him, ongoing efforts are to finalise the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), which aims to support the development of the maritime sector.

“We will continue to create an enabling environment, develop supportive policies, and offer necessary assistance to grow the inland waterways segment,” he assured.

Also, Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi State, represented by Salifu Joel, his deputy, commended President BolaTinubu for appointing the right person for NIWA’s job.

Bola Oyebamiji, managing director of NIWA, expressed gratitude for the Minister’s support and guidance in driving organisational reforms and enhancing operational efficiency.

He outlined the agency’s proactive measures, including implementing education grants, promotion letters, and medical packages for staff, to boost morale and productivity.

The unveiling of the transportation code, he said, underscores NIWA’s commitment to ensuring the safety and efficiency of inland water transportation.

Oloruntola Olufemi, permanent secretary, commended NIWA management for the feat achieved so far and encouraged them to do more.

He also assured NIWA of the ministry’s support in actualising its mandate.

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