The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has disclosed its plan to license boat operators as well as train boat captains who are operating in Lagos.
Making the disclosure during a stakeholders meeting between NIWA and boat operators in Lagos, the General Manager, Marine Operations, NIWA, Engr. Joseph Ororo, said the plan aimed to improve waterways transportation in Lagos.
He said that the training curriculum would be designed with the support of accredited institutions, and participants would be licensed as certified captains on completion of the training, which is compulsory.
Ororo said that executive boat operators would also be trained in the programme, which would be categorised into the three phases.
He added that the poor educational background of those who operate the boats in the brown waters necessitated the drive for an important training programme.
“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.
Speaking earlier, the Lagos Area Manager NIWA, Engr. Sarat Braimah, said that the training was actually a prerequisite for licensing boat operators.
She noted that the certification to be obtained at the end of the training would last for three years.
“Our boat captains will be formally licensed by NIWA. We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable for whatever they do with respect to their activities on the waterways,” Braimah explained.
Meanwhile, she told the gathering that awareness on the blue waters alongside the potentials were positioned for economic sustainability, but the brown waters has what it takes to also complement the blue economy.
She noted that the stakeholders in brown waters operation have what it takes to move the sub- sector to a greater level.
She, however, blamed carelessness and other human errors for the recent boat mishaps.
She also disclosed that the training programme would be done in as many local languages as possible, to enable participants comprehend what they would be taught adequately.
Present at the stakeholders meeting were members of ATBOWATON, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, LAGFERRY officials, and the service providers in the sub-sector.