By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has set the wheels in motion for the decongestion of Lagos seaports by moving some cargoes to the Onitsha River Port.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr George Moghalu, during a press briefing at the end of all heads of maritime agencies monthly meeting hosted by NIWA at its headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State, at the weekend.
If it becomes operational, cargoes destined for the Eastern part of the country and the North-Eastern part will be evacuated to Onitsha River Port from where it will be moved to their final destinations.
Mr Moghalu stated at the meeting that a committee was set up on the multi-modal approach to cargo delivery.
“The committee also looked at the movement of cargoes from Lagos Port to Onitsha River Port and other ports within the country, putting to active use of the waterways and also other related issues were deliberated,” he told reporters.
Mr Moghalu also stated that all maritime agencies in the country are looking for ways to harmonize their operations.
He further stated that the meeting looked at issues concerning maritime security and safety, received briefings from both NIMASA and NIWA and also the efforts made so far in the area of trade, development of manpower, enforcing the protocols to reduce the carnage on the nation’s waterways, and the removal of wrecks which is being addressed by all the sister agencies in the maritime industry.
“It is very important for us in the maritime sector to have decided to set up a platform we can share ideas, synergize where we can contribute our quota in developing policies and building the maritime industry.
“This is our third meeting and is expected that this meeting will continue as we set 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,” he said.
Speaking on flooding sensitisation, security and safety on Nigeria’s waterways, Mr Moghalu said NIWA has a department that monitors flood and gives their report which is made available to other agencies so that people can be aware and take precautions.
“NIWA has also been running radio jingles and newspaper advertorials to sensitize the general public on flood disaster,” he stated.
There was also a briefing from the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for its support on cargo movement from the ports to the dry ports, especially in Kaduna.
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