Waterways, key to diversifying economy, says NIWA’s new boss
New Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to employing the waterways to diversify the economy.
Mustapha, who disclosed this yesterday when he assumed office at NIWA’s headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State, he pledged to do everything possible with the support of NIWA’s management team to fulfill the president’s mandate.
He said past governments neglected the water transportation sector and today it is paying a very big price for it. “If we had sustained the navigability of the rivers for the movement of goods and materials, it would have accounted for the major source of transportation in 28 states.”
Mustapha said the government of late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in the 60s had muted the idea of dredging the River Niger and built the inland ports.
He said that was because they knew that Nigeria was predominantly an agrarian community that needed to open up the inland waterways so that farm produce from the communities can easily be evacuated to other parts of the country and as export to Europe, Americas and others.
Earlier, outgoing acting Managing Director, Mr. Danladi Ibrahim had enumerated some of the achievements recorded in the last one year under his watch to include dredging of the Niger River from Warri to Baro in Niger State; renovation of Onitsha and Baro River Ports, purchase of 18 security patrol boats to ensure safety on the water ways, procurement of water clearing equipment and ferries amongst others.