Newly-appointed Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Senator Olorunimbe Mamora has said that his administration would explore an out-of-court settlement in the face-off between the Federal agency and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in order to bring a win-win situation for both parties.
In the past few years, both NIWA and LASWA have been in court over who should have control over Lagos waterways assets, issuing of permits to operators and collection of revenue.
But, speaking with Shipping Position Daily on the sidelines of an industry event in Lagos last week, Senator Mamora noted that the conflict between both agencies dwells mainly on revenue being generated from the operations in the Lagos area and not on safety and security of the waterways.
He said that out of court settlement, devoid of usual legal bureaucracies would be the best option to resolve the dispute and ensure that both the LASWA and NIWA have a win-win situation.
Mamora who once Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly as well as a former Senator who represented Lagos said: "We can achieve a lot through the indirect or informal, rather than formal processes, the tendency is that there may be too much bureaucracy, there are legal and constitutional issues, no doubt, and that is why the matter is in court, but you can choose to settle issues out of court, at the end of the day, it is a win-win situation that everybody is looking for".
"Beyond that, it is the good of the people that government is looking for, and how much good people can benefit from a particular policy or Act of government, so, for me, I would look at an amicable resolution through a win-win situation" he assured .
He noted that one of the mandates of NIWA is to issue permit for waterways activities, tourism, transportation, mining among others, adding that the agency generates revenue from all these activities.
"The issue here is not about safety and security, it is more about revenue. The parties would have to sit down and negotiate", he declared.
While disabusing insinuations that being a Lagos politician, he might permit sentiments that would ultimately lead to LASWA gaining a upper hand in the feud, he said, "I think it is the prerogative of Mr. President to appoint people where he wants them to serve, haven said that, naturally, the fact that I am from Lagos has generated a lot of interest on the issue between LASWA and the NIWA, a lot of people have made phone calls to me, accosted me to ask what I will do@”.
On the controversies surrounding the completion and concessioning of Onitsha River Port, the NIWA boss admitted that there are issues, he however assured that he would be embarking on an on-the-spot assessment tour of the port have a first-hand view of the situation.
"I would like to see the situation by myself in an on-the-spot assessment, but I can say that there have been issues, the ones I have been briefed about, the ones I have read, but you cannot just rely on briefing by people, I would still want to visit the place very soon to have an on the spot assessment. But I quite accept that there are challenges", he said.