The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said it was partnering with the Nigeria Police to ensure seamless movement of cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha port.
The Managing Director, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, disclosed this in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.
The statement was signed by General Manager, Corporate Affairs of NIWA; Mr Jibril Darda’u,
Moghalu said the collaboration was part of the preparative and protective measures taken by NIWA to ensure a seamless exercise in the shipment of cargoes from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port.
Moghalu said this when he paid a working visit to the acting Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Usman Alkali Baba, at the force’s headquarters in Abuja recently.
He noted that the collaboration and cooperation of the police in providing adequate security for the second test-run of cargo shipments from Lagos to Onitsha River Port was to decongest the ports in Lagos state.
Moghalu added that the visit was also aimed at allaying the fears of cargo owners and build their confidence on the test-run exercise from Lagos to Onitsha.
“The purpose of our visit is to seek collaboration and cooperation of the police force to build a synergy in our inland waterways operations now that we are about to commence the second phase of the test-run of shipping cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha.
“NIWA is a federal agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating and developing activities on the inland waterways of the nation with a headquarter in Lokoja, Kogi .
“We have 22 area offices across the nation and waterways links across 28 states in the federation and this statistics has shown that about 60 per cent of cargoes coming into Nigerian ports are destined to the South East of the country,” he said.
Moghalu thanked the I-G for the cooperation the force had been rendering to NIWA Inland Police Command.
He, however, appealed for more cooperation in some areas of challenges the authority faced such as; lack of gun boats, accoutrement and anti-riot equipment.
He also urged the I-G to help vacate some police officials illegally occupying some of the organisation’s premises which was by law, under NIWA’s right of way at Onitsha Area Office; so that the authority could make better use of the place.
Responding, Baba thanked the managing director of NIWA and his management team for the visit.
He said: “I thank you for coming to congratulate me and intimate me with the developments and challenges you have in your organisation.
“We have a very good and cordial working relationship with NIWA and we recognise the kind of cooperation that NIWA is rendering to the inland and marine police, though we need improvements in the areas.
“To have gun boats is capital intensive but the force will look for a way to support NIWA in its areas of operations,” he said.
Baba promised to sustain the good working relationship with NIWA in all its areas of operations and to provide the organisation with every support where necessary.