The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has urged stakeholders to leverage the use of Nigeria’s over 10,500 km inland waterways to enhance transportation and boost the economy.
Jamoh said this in a chat with journalists on Saturday, in Kaduna, that the potential of the inland waterways was huge and that the government especially, should creatively seek to utilise it.
According to him, the government should develop short, medium and long term plans to dredge the rivers and properly harness the resources.
“If you go to Egypt, it is artificial lake they use; if we dredge the rivers such as River Kaduna, it will be as good as the sea.
“Whatever resources you can have in our sea, you can have it there. The maritime asset you can have in our sea, you can have it here.”
Jamoh said apart from enhancing transportation, provision of infrastructure for the hospitality industry and connecting roads to villages would open the rural economy for the benefit of the country.
“When you’ve the hospitality industry, you can imagine the kind of economy, the level of employment that you can generate and the tourism potentials available.
“All we need to do is to assess what we have, including the mineral deposits under the water; it’s a matter of conducting research,” he said.
According to him, the waterways also have huge potentials for fisheries, which should be exploited properly, including using fishing trawlers.
It’s a huge industry out there, from those owning the fishing trawlers, those working on it, how we process the fish and others. It’s a huge economic activity.
The NIMASA DG urged the media to propagate what we have in the inland waterways “to educate the local populace and government to tap the opportunities.
“You are the ones that have that responsibility to educate them, you have to sit down and change the psyche of the people, to rethink,” he said.