Determined to ensure safety on the waterways, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an American company to provide life jacket to all the jetties in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Muoghalu said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week in Lagos.
Even though he didn't disclose the name of the company, the NIWA boss said that the company has started working, adding that NIWA wants to make it a serious crime to ply the waterways without a life jacket.
Explaining further, he said that the idea is to ensure that nobody uses non-availability of life jackets as an excuse not to be properly kitted.
"A few weeks ago, about three weeks ago NIWA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an American company that is going to supply life jackets in all jetties in the country"
"We have signed the MoU and they are working on it. Because we want to make it a crime for you to board a vessel in any of our jetties without being properly kitted"
"We want to make life jackets available at all water fronts, so that everybody will not give us excuse that because there was no life jacket they have to enter the water without that, we don't want to accept that as an excuse. And that is why we have gone this far"
Moughalu however warned that the agency is going to criminalize non-certified boat driver operating on our waterways.
"We have also placed a ban and directed our Area Offices that no vessel that do not have navigational aid should be allowed to ply late in the night or early in the morning"
According to him, "with regards to boar operators and drivers, we have a training facility both in Lagos here and Warri, we will train people. So that you can't give us the excuse that you want to ride bait but you are not trained. We are having a facility where you can be trained and officially licensed".