The Heads of maritime agencies have looked at the possibility of utilizing the Onitsha river ports and other dry ports scattered across the country towards decongesting the Lagos ports and also easing the pressure on the roads.
In a statement made available to Tribune Online over the weekend by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Spokesman, Mr Jibril Darda’u, the third Heads of maritime agencies meeting which held in Lokoja, Kogi State, agreed that it was imperative that the nation’s waterways are used maximally towards cargo evacuation from the ports in Lagos.
According to the NIWA statement, “The third heads of maritime agency meeting looked at issues concerning maritime security and safety. Briefs were received from the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh and the Managing Director of NIWA, Chief George Moghalu.
“Also, deliberations were made on the efforts made so far in the area of trade, development of manpower, enforcing the protocols to reduce the carnage on our waterways, and the removal of wrecks which is being addressed by all the sister agencies in the country.”
The statement also quoted George Moghalu as saying that the meeting also set up a committee on multi-model approach to cargo delivery which was preceded by a briefing from the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on efforts made towards cargo movement from the ports to the Dry Port in the Northern parts of the country, particularly Kaduna dry port.
“It is very important for us in the maritime sector to have decided to set up a platform where we can share ideas, synergize and contribute our quarter in developing policies and building the maritime industry.
“This is our Third meeting and is expected that this meeting will continue as we confront issues that concern the maritime Industry. We will discuss to find solutions so that we can put them to use in our various establishments and at the same time bring solutions to the government at large,” George Moghalu was quoted as saying in the statement.
The NIWA statement also added that “The heads of maritime agencies also looked at the movement of cargoes from Lagos Port to Onitsha River Port and other Ports within the Country, thereby stressing the importance of active use of the waterways.”
On flooding, Chief Moghalu explained that NIWA has a department that monitors flood and gives report which is made available to other agencies so that people can be aware and take precaution.
The meeting was attended by DG/CEO, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council
(NSC), Hassan Bello, Registrar/Ceo, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mr Sam Nwakohu, and representatives from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Railways Corporation.