By Ambrose Obioma Okehi
In order to ensure smooth, safe and seemless operation in cargo movement through barges from Lagos ports to Onitsha River port, the management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has taken proactive measures.
The new steps taken by the authority which was meant to have a well coordinated and seamless exercise in the shipment of cargoes from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port was cemented by the recent visit the MD paid to the Police boss.
In a statement signed by Jibril Darda’u, the General Manager Corporate Affairs of the authority, the organization noted that the Managing Director of NIWA Chief Dr George Moghalu’s recent working visit to the Acting Inspector General (IG) of Police, Usman Alkali at the Force Headquarters, Abuja was to see a smooth and seamless operation in the movement of cargoes from Lagos ports to Onitsha River port.
During the visit, News Emperor gathered that the MD of NIWA Chief Dr George Moghalu seeks the collaboration and cooporation of the police in providing adequate security for the second test-run of cargo shipments from Lagos to Onitsha River Port in a bid to decongest the Ports in Lagos State.
In his words, Moghalu said “the purpose of our visit is to seek for collaboration and cooperation of the police force to build a synergy in our inland waterways operations, most importantly now that we are about to commence the second phase of the test-run of shipping cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha.”
The MD of NIWA also said that “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 State. We have 22 area offices across the nation and waterways links across 28 states in the federation.”
He added that “statistics have shown that about sixty percent of cargoes coming into Nigerian Ports are destined to the South East of the country.”
Moghalu thanked the IG for the kind cooperation the force has been rendering to NIWA Inland Police Command, and also appealed for more cooperation in some areas of challenges the Authority is facing such as; lack of gun boats, accoutrement and anti-riot equipments.
He also complain that the IG should help vacate some police officials illegally occupying some of the organization’s premises which is by law under NIWA’s right of way at Onitsha Area Office; so that the Authority can make better use of the place.
However, the MD congratulates the Acting IG Usman Alkali Baba for his appointment as the new Acting Inspector General of the Police by Mr President, and wish him a successful tenure.
Responding, the Acting IG of Police Usman Alkali 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 organization.”
The IG further stated that “we have a very good and cordial working relationship with NIWA and we recognize the kind cooperation that NIWA is rendering to the inland and marine police, though we need improvements in the areas.”
He also said “to have gun boats is capital intensive but the force will look for a way on how to support NIWA in its areas of operations.”
The IG disclosed that he was once the head of the marine police when he was an AIG, so, that made him to know much about NIWA and all operations and activities in the maritime sector.
He however promised to sustain the good working relationship with NIWA in all it’s areas of operations. And also to provide the organisation with every support where necessary.
During an interview with the press after the meeting, the MD of NIWA added that the visit is also aimed at allaying the fears of the cargo owners and build their confidence on the test-run exercise from Lagos to Onitsha.
Amongst the management team that accompanied the MD to the visit includes; Barrister Danladi Ibrahim (GM Legal services, Company Secretary and legal adviser), DCP Shettima Zanna (Head of NIWA Police Command), Alhaji Yusuf Gire (GM Finance and Account), Engr Ostia Anazado (Technical Adviser to the MD), Mr Abdullahi Dabai (GM Human Resources and Admin), Mr Jibril Darda’u (GM Corporate Affairs), Mr Ibrahim Isyaku Sade (GM Procurement) and Barrister Nasiru Biyankari (DGM legal services).