In its bid to reduce boat mishaps on Nigerian waters, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Lagos Area office has introduced mandatory training programmes and license for all boat operators.
The Area Manager, NIWA Lagos, Engr Sarat Buraimoh, revealed this during the NIWA stakeholders’ forum for boat operators which held in Lagos on Wednesday.
She said NIWA in partnership with the Metropolitan waterways came up with the training aimed at educating boat owners and captains while urging them to cooperate with the regulatory authority.
According to her, it is compulsory to undergo the training no matter the category of personnel as it will now be a prerequisite to obtain a NIWA license.
Engr Buraimoh also revealed that NIWA is set to meet with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIWA) so as to allow the regulatory authority to meet its mandate.
“We are also looking at having a meeting with the CG of Customs on how we can import maritime spare parts and for our local content in which we can access loans. I am assuring stakeholders that before the end of this year, we will finalise all these things”, she said.
Speaking on the guidelines on training of boat captains and issuance of boat drivers’ licenses, the General Manager, Marine, NIWA, Engr Joseph Ororo, said the training is long overdue as the agency has started the initiative Delta, Bayelsa and some other states and is set to do so in Lagos.
He stated that most water accidents are caused by human errors with the regulators sharing a part of the blame and added that this is the reason behind the initiative.
“There are lots of rules and regulations guiding boat operations and transport of which most times we feel very comfortable flouting these rules and regulations. This training is long overdue. If you recall we had a stakeholders meeting with you around July last year and you have been informed that this is going to happen.
“We have started it in Delta state, Bayelsa and other places. This is the centre of excellence and anything done you must be done in a very special way. There is nothing you can do well without any form of training. If you want to drive a car you must learn and most importantly learn well. otherwise, you will create problems for yourself and others.
“We are greatly saddened as an authority each time we hear about incidences of boat mishaps. Most times these accidents are caused by human errors. Sometimes they are due to the fault of the Captains and other crew and to a large extent also, the part of regulatory bodies. We can’t excuse ourselves from the blame game. That is why we are coming up with this training programme as one of the measures that we must necessarily put in place and enforce” he said.