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NIWA set to carry out compulsory training for boat captains, skippers to reduce accidents on waterways

Segun Oladipupo

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has restated its resolve to building capacity for boat captains and skippers operating on the Lagos waterways.

General Manager, Marine Operations, NIWA, Engr Joseph Ororo disclosed this yesterday at a stakeholders meeting  between the agency and boat operators.

Ororo who said that the training would be compulsory for boat operators, added that participants would be certified by the agency as captains at the end of the tutelage.

According to him, NIWA with the collaborative support from accredited institutions, will design a curriculum for training of the skippers.

He declared that the training would be categorised into three phases, which in turn will include practical and theoretical methodologies.

Ororo, while stating that the training will also be extended to executive boat operators, averred that the move became necessary because of the poor academic background of skippers and boat captains.

His words, “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.

Earlier, the Lagos Area Manager of  NIWA, Engr. Sarat Lara Braimah, said that the training was centred on how to licence boat operators, saying the certification would last for three years.

“Our boat captains will be formerly licensed by NIWA. We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable in whatever they do and what they are doing at  the waterways activities,” she said.

She pointed out that awareness on the  blue waters alongside the potentials were positioned for economic sustainability but the brown waters has what it takes to also compete with the blue economy.

She noted that the stakeholders in brown waters operation have what it takes to move the subsector to an enviable heights, pointing out boat mishaps in recent times could be attributed to carelessness and human errors.

“Boat operators and  NIWA, we are all guilty of these unfortunate incident on our waterways, therefore we want to look for the way forward.

“How can we do it right. Lets even know who are the people piloting our boats. We want to know them and that is why we want them to be licensed. NIWA want to start from somewhere.

“We want a proper formal education for our captains because they are not properly educated “.

She also noted that the training programme would be devoid of language barrier as different dialects would be  employed to get across to all operators.

The Area Manager urged stakeholders to cooperate with NIWA to end the ravishing boat mishaps on Lagos waterways, adding that carelessness on the part of the captains resulted to the accidents that occurred recently.

The stakeholders meeting had in attendance, members of ATBOWATON, MWUN, officials from LAGFERRY, and other service providers in the waterways transportation.

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