06 November 2020 By Ohikwo Muhammad
Poor Government attention as well as dearth of infrastructure have been identified as some of the challenges bedevilling water transportation in Nigeria.
This was the submission of the Guest Speaker, Dr Anthony Ali during a Lecture at the Grand Finale of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Kogi State Council Press Week held at the Press Centre in Lokoja .
Dr Ali who is the Dean, Faculty of International Studies, Federal University, Lokoja, decried the poor attention given to the water transportation sub sector in Nigeria.
“In the past, Lokoja dockyard was the largest employer of labour, they engaged in construction of various boats like steel berges. Every other part apart from the engines were assembled in the Lokoja dockyard and Apapa but what is happening today?” Dr Ali queried.
He further called on Government to give priority to minor rivers connecting major Towns to reduce congestion at the Apapa Port as well as carnages on Nigerian roads.
The University Lecturer highlighted other advantages of water transportation to include affordability, safety and suitability for bulky goods and recommended the dredging of rivers in addition to building of an intermodal transport system across the Country .
“All inland river terminals and ports in Nigeria be dredged and furnished by Government with facilities like boats, jetties, loading and unloading facilities and an intermodal transport system be put in place such that light railways and roads be constructed to link all State Capitals and River Ports to ease movement of people and goods”. He posited.
Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu explained that NIWA was repositioning for better service delivery.
Represented by the General Manager Marine, Joseph Ororu, Dr Moghalu sought the collaboration of journalists in achieving NIWA’s mandate.
In his remarks, National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Isiguzo emphasized the pivotal role of the media and enjoined Security Agencies to fish out perpetrators of the recent shooting of a Journalist in Lokoja.
“Those at the helm of affairs must have to appreciate the fact that the media plays a pivotal role in delivering good governance, in the absence of the media, democracy is in peril”, Comrade Isiguzo noted.
Comrade Isiguzo assured journalists that the leadership of the NUJ would continue to work towards improved welfare for members.
Earlier, Chairman, Kogi State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Adeiza Mommoh Jimoh applauded the resilience of members and implored the State Government to redeem all pledges made to the union over the years.
The Lecture has as its theme: Inland Water Transportation; the untapped Potential in Nigeria’s Economy.
Highlight of the event was recognition of some notable individuals who distinguished themselves in various fields of human Endeavors.