By DAPO OLAWUNI
Port activist and Vice President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto has raised an alarm, saying that there are not less than 30 vessels and wrecks littering the inland waterways in Lagos State.
Farinto during a press briefing in Lagos said the wrecks are majorly located between Ibafon and Iyana Iba axis of the waterways.
He berated the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for lagging behind in its responsibilities of ensuring that ship owners remove their abandoned vessels from the waterways, while ensuring that wrecks are removed promptly to ensure smooth navigation for boats and other water crafts.
He described the abandoned ships and wrecks as a huge source of revenue which NIMASA has failed to tap into.
DAILY TREND NEWS also gathered that abandoned wrecks has led to huge number of deaths of boat passengers in the last three years.
Speaking, he said “When I was going at sea recently, between Ibafon and Iyana Iba, there are over 30 vessels and abandoned wrecks on our waterways, this is a source of money for the government”
“The government should bring out a directive that these abandoned wrecks should be removed, when was the last time NIMASA did that?
“NIMASA is only interested in the dollars she is getting from the 2% freight”
“Any vessel owner that fails to remove their vessel after the directive from government, the vessel should be sold off as scraps because the corrosion is killing our aquatic life” he said
The ANLCA Vice President called for the creation of a Ministry of Maritime in order to fully harness the opportunities in the Nigerian maritime industry.
Farinto said the Ministry of Maritime would create more employment for the teeming youths and generate more revenue for government and also lead to more innovations.
“If we succeed in setting up ministry of maritime today, we are going to tap into some grey areas that we have not been able to touch, we are going to harness it, there is so much money lying fallow on our waterways”
“Ministry of Transportation is a very wide ministry, this is why they cannot oversee all the departments under them”
“If you look at IMO now, there are lots of areas we have been lagging behind in the last four years, by now we are supposed to have carried out geo-fencing of our ports, we are supposed to have done delineation of our ports, at which point does the port start from? It is supposed to be from Mile 2 up to Ijora, a Minister of Transportation cannot do all these, but when we have a Ministry of Maritime, these are the sub-sectors that would be looked at” he said