The Niger Government is to spend N96 million to buy 28 flying boats for the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to enhance water transportation.
A Special Adviser to Gov. Babangida Aliyu, Alhaji Mohammed Shaba, made this known to journalists yesterday in Minna.
Shaba said the agency would collaborate with the state Ministry of Transportation and the Boat Divers Association on the modalities for the boat operations.
“The transportation ministry will handle the modalities of the boats’ operations and the necessary measures to ensure its success. Each of the flying boats will be equipped with life jackets for passengers, including first aid kit for their safety.”
He said the agency would domesticate Federal Government’s laws on inland water management.
The governor’s aide said it was all in a bid to check the activities of unscrupulous individuals who engaged in sharp practices to the detriment of their passengers.
Shaba said the agency would also engage the services of experts in removing tree trunks in the river ways.
“We have identified that these tree trunks are largely responsible for some of the boat mishaps.”
Shaba said the state government had also approved the release of N13 million for the payment of token relief’ to the 26 victims of the first boat mishap in Malali village in Borgu Local Government Area.
He said each victim’s dependant had collected N500,000.
“NSEMA is yet to complete an assessment on the second boat mishap which led to the death of 18 persons in Borgu Emirate on the same River Niger. After the assessment is done, relief would be provided for their dependants in line with government policy,” the aide said.
Shaba also said NSEMA was working out a policy framework for disaster mitigation and management.
“This will enable the agency to be proactive in its task of managing hazards in the environment before they cause disaster to the society,” he said.