NIWA, LASWA collaborate, initiate modalities for efficient water transportation services in Lagos



The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) on Tuesday agreed to work together for a more efficient waterway transportation in Lagos State.

It would be recalled that both regulatory agencies had been at loggerheads over who had regulatory authority of water transportation operations in the state.

NIWA and LASWA made their position known at a joint stakeholders meeting held with members of the Association of Tourists Boat Operators and Water Transporters Of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) at the PROTEA Hotel, Lagos.

The Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Mr Muazu Sambo, told the gathering that NIWA and LASWA would henceforth work within a joint monitoring team that would operate as one.

He said the joint operation by the agencies would ensure that operators complied with set standards for efficient service and safety of passengers, to as much as possible, check the incessant boat mishaps.

He noted that the root cause of a number of the boat mishaps had been due to lack of standardization, where operators deployed all manner of boats for their operations.
He, however, assured that once the NIWA Code is gazette, defaulters to operational guidelines would face the law appropriately, in order to assure the public of the safety of water transportation. 

The Managing Director of LASWA, Engr. Abisola Kamson, also said that the collaboration would ensure improvement in water transportation for the users of the facility in Lagos State.

OnepageAfrica reports that both agencies agreed that the issue of multiple taxation was settled and done with as they would share the charging platform to avoid same charges on operators.

On their part, the operators tasked the regulatory agencies on the need for infrastructural improvement and creation of enabling environment to support their operations.

Faulting some of the proposed standards for commercial boat operations, Chief Wellington Ilori, the Executive State Chairman of ATBOWATON, said the different areas in Lagos demand different kinds of boats.

He said that would make it difficult to comply with a single specification, adding that insistence on such standard may send many operators packing.

Responding, the LASWA Managing Director said the technical committee of the agencies would definitely have a review, but that the operations originally were categorized under Urban and Rural Areas, and Charter Services.

Sambo, however stated that wooden boats had no place in their planned operations, as there is need for improvement even though they considered the interest of the operators.

He said that government’s first interest is to build standards to make things work, while he held on to the proposal to have a manifest on board the travelling craft, though a number of the operators argued otherwise.

The regulatory authorities had proposed a 15-point operational standards for commercial boat operations on Lagos waterways.

Some of the regulations covered boat specification, insurance cover, speed limits, hours of operation, navigational aids, speedometer, safety accessories, periodic boat inspection and certification of the boat drivers.

In his response, National President of ATBOWATON, Mr Tarzan Balogun, said government should first sanitise the inland waterways by clearing the wrecks in the water, channelize the routes and put up signage to guide people.

Also, on behalf of the association, Balogun requested that government should set up a fuel station at the NIWA Marina Jetty to save them troubles of redundancy during fuel scarcity periods.

The operators appealed to the regulatory agencies that the enforcement period for the operational standards be pushed forward well beyond an initial 60 days’ time that was proposed.