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NIWA to enforce compulsory insurance for barges, cargoes

By Adaku Onyenucheya
17 August 2022   |   2:59 am
The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, has announced that the authority is working on the modality of making it compulsory

Barge moving containers

Considers South African firm for inland waterways surveillance

The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, has announced that the authority is working on the modality of making it compulsory for all barge operators to secure insurance cover for both barges and cargoes they carry.

Moghalu disclosed this in a media parley in Lagos. He said the agency was inundated with complaints from importers on the risk of putting expensive cargoes on the waterways onboard substandard barges.

“I have had a meeting with the barge operators association of Nigeria, and I have insisted on having quality insurance to cover both the barges and the cargoes.

“These were issues raised by the importers themselves. They said they don’t want a situation whereby they would gamble with their goods after importing them from China and Europe, and upon getting to Nigerian waterways the cargo gets drowned.

“So we have reached an understanding with the barge operators association that we want a reasonable insurance cover for every cargo that would go on the inland waterways and for the vessels themselves to be fully insured so that we can give protection to the importer.

“This is a prime project for us because we want to decongest our ports and ease pressure from the roads,” Moghalu stated.

Also, the NIWA boss said the agency is considering a proposal by a South African firm for the installation of cameras and a command control centre for surveillance of Nigerian inland waterways.

According to Moghalu, NIWA has visited South Africa on invitation by the company to see how it operates the same surveillance service for South Africa’s inland waterways, even as the company has equally conducted an assessment of Nigerian inland waterways.

Moghalu stated that with the installation of cameras and a command control centre, NIWA would be better positioned to monitor activities on the inland waterways to curb unprofessional conduct and respond speedily to accidents.

The NIWA boss also stated that the agency has intensified efforts to sensitise riverine communities on safety measures and standards for inland waterways operations, especially on the use of standard life jackets, ban on night travel and overcrowded boats.

“I have told my Area Managers across the nation that I want to have biweekly reports on sensitisation activities. In terms of reaching these locals, using radio is the best but it is also important to engage them physically using the churches, mosques, traditional rulers and religious leaders.”

Moghalu further warned boat operators to desist from transporting passengers beyond 7.00 p.m. to avoid frequent boat mishaps on the waterways.

He added that NIWA has constituted a waterway task force to arrest any boat operating beyond the stipulated time.