Lagos state lacks right to control inland waterways, says Amaechi
Following the unending tussle between Lagos State and the Federal Government over control of the state Inland Waterways, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said Lagos has no right over management of the waterways.
He said the nation’s constitution was clear on the ownership structure of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), insisting that the Lagos State government only filled the gap because there was a vacuum.
The row over control of waterways surrounding Lagos started over 10 years ago between NIWA and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) with both parties engaged in protracted legal battle.
But former Managing Director of NIWA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government on joint responsibility to ensure safety, harmonise tariffs and monitor regulations on the waterways.
However, in a televised broadcast monitored by The Guardian, Amaechi nullified the agreement, saying the Federal Government would claim what rightfully belonged to it.
He said, “Lagos State government does not have any right on the Nigerian Inland Waterways, the constitution and the law are clear on ownership structure, but when there was a vacuum, it has to be filled so Lagos State decided to do that.
“The court has ruled that the Federal Government must go back to claim the responsibility since it owns the waterways.
Disclosing plans to commence transportation service on the Lagos waterways to reduce traffic gridlock on the Apapa axis, he said Federal Government would appropriate funds to purchase vessels for the purpose.
He also stressed the need for capital and maintenance dredging of the waterways, saying it would encourage people to move their goods by water, as this would create more employment.
But it its reaction, National President, Chattered Institute of Logistics, Ibrahim Jibril, rooted support for Amaechi’s plan to use the inland waterways for passenger services.
“There is room for that in Lagos State being that the state has challenges in its transportation sector,” he stated.
He, however, stressed the need to beef up security on the waterways, saying NIWA should be factored into the deep blue project being handled by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).