By Yesirat Kazeem
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to build capacity for boat captains and skippers operating in the Lagos waterways.
The General Manager, Marine Operations, NIWA , Joseph Ororo, in a statement in Lagos said that the authority would also licence boat operators.
Ororo made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting between the agency and boat operators in Lagos.
He maintained that the training would be compulsory for the operators ,even as he noted that participants at the end of the schooling would be licensed by the agency as certified captains .
He said the training would be categorised into the three phases, including practical and theoretical methodology.
The general manager added that the training would also be extended to executive boat operators .
Ororo noted that the move was necessitated against the backdrop of the poor educational background of the skippers and captains in brown waters operations.
“This training of our boat operators is long overdue. We have started it in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states but Lagos is the centre of excellence,” he said.
Also, the Lagos Area Manager NIWA, Mrs Sarat Braimah, said that the training was centred on how to licence boat operators.
According to her, the certification would last for three years at the end of the training.
“Our boat captains will be formerly licensed by NIWA. We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable in whatever they do and their activities on the waterways,” Braimah said.
She said that awareness on the blue waters alongside the potential were positioned for economic sustainability but the brown waters had what it required to also compete with the blue economy.
She noted that the stakeholders in brown waters operation had what it takes to move the sub sector to an enviable level, adding that boat mishaps in recent times could be attributed to carelessness and other human errors activities.
“Boat operators, NIWA, we are all guilty of these unfortunate incident on our waterways therefore we want to look for the way forward.
“How can we do it right. Lets even know who are the people piloting our boats. We want to know them and that is why we want them to be licensed. NIWA want to start from somewhere.
“We want a proper formal education for our captains because they are not properly educated,” she said.
She also noted that the training programme would be devoid of language barrier as all types of dialects would complement the capacity building project.
The Area Manager urged stakeholders to cooperate with NIWA to end the ravishing boat mishaps on Lagos waterways adding that carelessness on the part of the captains resulted to the accidents that occurred recently.
In attendance were: Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), officials from Lagos Ferry Services Company and the service providers in the waterways transportation ecology.