The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has sought the support of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure the security of cargo expected to be shipped on barges from Lagos to Onitsha River Port.
NIWA Managing Director, George Moghalu, sought the support of the police when he visited the Acting Inspector General of the Police, Usman Alkali Baba at the force’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
NIWA spokesman, Jibril Darda’u, who disclosed this in a press statement, said Moghalu sought “the collaboration and cooperation of the police” in providing adequate security for the second test-run of cargo shipments from Lagos to Onitsha River Port in a bid to decongest the ports in Lagos.
“The purpose of our visit is to seek for collaboration and cooperation of the police force to build a synergy in our inland waterways operations, most importantly now that we are about to commence the second phase of the test-run of shipping cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha.
“NIWA is a Federal agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating and developing activities on the Inland waterways of the nation with a headquarter in Lokoja, Kogi State. We have 22 area offices across the nation and waterways links across 28 States in the federation.
“Statistics have shown that about sixty percent of cargoes coming into Nigerian Ports are destined to the South East of the country.
“I thank the Acting IGP for the kind cooperation the force has been rendering to NIWA Inland Police Command, and also appealed for more cooperation in some areas of challenges the Authority is facing such as; lack of gun boats, accouterment and anti-riot equipment,” Moghalu was quoted as saying.
He also complained that the Ag IGP should help vacate some police officials illegally occupying some of the organization’s premises, which he said was by law under NIWA’s right of way at Onitsha Area Office for the Authority to make better use of the place.
Responding, the Acting IGP said, “I thank you for coming to congratulate me and intimate me with the developments and challenges you have in your organization.
“We have a very good and cordial working relationship with NIWA and we recognize the kind cooperation that NIWA is rendering to the inland and marine police, though we need improvements in the areas.
“To have gun boats is capital intensive but the force will look for a way on how to support NIWA in its areas of operations.”
Alkali Baba said he was once the head of the marine police when he was an AIG, so, that made him to know much about NIWA and all operations and activities in the maritime sector.
He promised to sustain the good working relationship with NIWA in all its areas of operations and also to provide the organisation with every support where necessary.