The National Inland Waterway Authority, NIWA, has revealed that so far a total of 29 passengers have lost their lives in 2022 compared to over 100 in 2021 on the Malale Waterfronts, Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.
The organisation hinged the reduction in the mishaps to the cutting of tree stocks on the waterfront.
The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu stated this during the commissioning of PB Port Harcourt Fibre Patrol, Surveillance Boat at the Malale Waterfronts, Borgu Local Government Area of the state.
The MD represented by Captain Abdulkadir Abu, Deputy Director, Navigation disclosed that so far a total of 29 lives were lost in 2022, while over 100 through boat mishaps on the Malale Waterways in the state.
He advised water users to avoid night journeys and desist from boarding without life jackets.
The Area Manager of NIWA Niger/Kwara States, Mr. Akapo Adeboye in his address said another factor that assisted in cutting down the incidences of boat accidents was the series of sensitization exercises held by NIWA in the area.
According to him, to prevent accidents, NIWA has made it mandatory for all waterways users, all boat boats and boat operators to properly registered with the Authority.
” Two persons will serve in the surveillance and safety agents from the five communities of Malale, Lokomene, Shagunu, Garafini and Duggar who will be monitored and supervised by NIWA and HYPPADEC to ensure its effectiveness” he disclosed.
Speaking, the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello who was represented by the state commissioner for Transport, Zakari Mohammed lamented the constant loss of lives on the waterways in the state.
He stated,” Niger State Government will continue to ensure continuous partnership to bring succour to communities in the state. We pray with the launching of this surveillance boat, it will stop boat mishaps on our waterways”.
Also, commissioning the boat, the Emir of Borgu, Mohammed Sani Dantoro represented by the Wazirn Borgu, Sa’ad Abdulkareem thanked NIWA for the gesture, while assuring that the boat would be to the benefit of the communities.
A community member Mohammed Abdul in an interview told our Correspondent that many lives have been lost in communities in Borgu local government of Niger State through boat accidents while commending NIWA for providing the speed boat for rescue to save the lives of travellers on the Malale Waterways.