The Senate on Tuesday charged the Federal Government to initiate necessary reforms in the water transportation sector through restructuring and regulatory capacity in the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
The senate also tasked NIWA on dredging of the nation’s waterways to make them safer while calling for the strengthening of the Marine Police to check the recklessness of boat drivers.
The upper legislative chamber’s charge is coming on the heels of the recent boat mishap in Lagos in which many passengers got drowned.
Moving the motion, Senator Dayo Adeyeye (APC Ekiti South) and three others, urged the authorities to get attuned to international best practices by ensuring up to date vessel tracking system are installed in all the inland waterways.
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They also harped on improved communication and navigational aids to ensure swift response to distress situations.
Adeyeye said, “Water transportation is a means of transportation that Nigeria needs to harness as a country, because of its huge potentials with 8, 600 kilometres of inland waterways and extensive coast land of about 852 kilometres”.
The lawmaker said Nigeria boasts the second-longest waterways in the Africa continent, stressing adding that water transportation remains cheaper than other means of transportation.
He, however, regretted that despite the available potential in water transportation, the country still lagged behind several other African countries
Others that contributed to the debate included Senators Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South); Akom Eyakenyi (PDP Akwa Ibom South); Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo South); Michael Nnachi (PDP Ebonyi South); Lawrence Orijakpo (PDP Bayelsa West); and Binos Yaroe (Adamawa South).