By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Lagos Area Manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Eng Sadat Braimah has said that most Captains of tug boats and passenger boats on the inland waterways are illiterates who do not have knowledge of marine navigation.
To this end, she announced that NIWA is coming up with a 3-days training for all private and commercial boat operators in Lagos State so as to equip them with basic knowledge of navigation and what to do in times of emergency.
The training organised by the marine department of NIWA is holding on 6th of December at the Sea School in Apapa, Lagos.
Eng Sadat said that certificate issued at the training would now serve as prerequisite for licensing and registration of boats for operations, starting from January 2020.
“We want to make it a compulsory training because we found out that most of our captains are illiterates, most of them did not even attend school, but they would tell you ‘I be Ilaje Boy, I can swim’ ‘I be Ijaw man, them never born you before I start to swim’
“This should not be the certificate to driving our boats”
“So we want to do an informal training on 6th of December at Sea School in Apapa, Yoruba people will come and teach them in Yoruba language, Ijaw will come and teach in Ijaw language, we want them to have the basic marine training that will make everyone of them fit to drive our boats”
“We want to compulsory that training so that if an incident happens, they would know what to do, such as enlightening the people onboard”
“So, everybody that has boats, either private or commercial boats, try as much as possible to send your people for this training, it is only for three days, and you would be given a certificate, this certificate is what NIWA is going to use, starting from January to register your boats” she said
Eng Sadat noted that since the business of transportation of containers from Apapa port through waterways commenced, there has been a surge in use of unqualified tug boats to move the barges.
She said most of the tug boats in Lagos do not even have navigational lights, and most people go to as far as Warri and Port Harcourt to bring tug boats because of this new business.
“Yes, it is allowed because everybody wants to be involved in it, but let’s do it right
“I have told my marine department that any boat that does not have insurance, let us not put it on the water because peoples life are in danger”
“Most of the tug boats don’t even have pumping machines, I have told my head of marine that this would be a prerequisite to registration of their boats”
“Waterways transportation should be organized, we don’t want to transfer the challenge the government is facing on the roads to the waterways” she cautioned