NIWA set to open channel for boats operational access in Warri

Posted by News Express | 24 April 2022 | 319 times

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Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief (Dr) George Moghalu, has ordered immediate deployment of technical experts and equipment to the blocked area of Pessu market river in Warri South Council area, in order to link it up to the main Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) outlet.

The NIWA boss fact-finding visit to the area may not be unconnected to the protest by traders and women of Pessu market led by a prominent Itsekiri traditional title holder, Chief Rital Lori Ogbebor, to the NIWA Warri office recently over their challenges in taking their goods across to other parts of the riverine communities due to the blockage of the channel.

Leading other top management staff of NIWA during the ‘On-The-Spot-Assessment’ of the area on Friday, Dr. Moghalu, expressed concern over the low water level he witnessed at this period of high tides and wondered how difficult the situation would be for those plying their trade in the area when there was low tides.

Dr. Moghalu, who took time to inspect the remote cause of the blockage, admitted that the situation requires an urgent intervention, inorder not to endanger lives of residents who are mostly waterway users, especially the women who are fishermen and petty traders.

Consequent upon his findings, he immediately directed his men to mobilise the needed manpower and equipment to the place so as to commence the process of survey towards opening up the blocked side of the river and thereafter dredge the area as a way of averting delicate situation that could lead to loss of lives if proper measures were not being taken early enough.

According to him, “It’s a total blockage we are looking at here. And if you can have this volume of water in the high tides, imagine what the situation would be in the low tides.

“So am a little bit worried about it and I have directed now that a survey team should move in to start work immediately to get the hydro-graphic survey done completely from the beginning down to the major outlets”.

Continuing; “It is after this stage that we will begin to look at the program of dislodging the entire place and dredge it out. We want to clear it, otherwise we’ll lose the body of water here and that’s not in our best interest.

“Due to urgency we are attaching to solving this problem, I will be issuing a formal letter by Monday (today) so that the work can commence in earnest and we hope to complete it in good time too”, Dr. Moghalu assured.

Speaking to newsmen during the visit, a resident who identified himself as Mr. Obaro Arieigwe, (a trader) lamented how the resident of the area had suffered for many years due to the blockage and shallow river and applauded the NIWA for the efforts being made in coming to their rescue to clear the blockage and dredge the river.

“Look at the water level you are seeing now that is the best you can get and yet we are still experiencing high tides. By the time we get to the low tides, it’s the ground you will be seeing and by that time we can no longer do our business of farming and trading with our neighbouring communities as our boats can no longer move”.

He disclosed that the river blockage was a result of the activities of the wood traders and saw millers who heaped the saw-dust from their business into the river for many years and after a while they started experiencing some difficulties in making their way through till it got to this present state.

Another resident, Mrs. Beatrice Omadeli, a fish trader in the market for over 25years, expressed joy over the move about to be taking by NIWA to clear the river, stating that the blockage had made doing business in the area more demanding and expensive as they had to pay extra charges on transportation to get to where they buy their goods and where they sell.

In her words; “The blockage had made life so unbearable for us doing business in this community because we are now being made to bear the cost of so many burden, especially on transporting our goods to sell and to buy as well”.

“That is why we are appreciating NIWA for the initiative to address the issue. We want them to start as quick as possible so that they can finish up early. This river means so much to us in this community and once it starts functioning again, it eases our burden and bring relief to us”, she stated.

Earlier, Dr. Moghalu, had tour round the Warri office of NIWA to see some of the challenges the staff are facing in the course of discharging their duties and took instant decision on how to address some the pressing demands made by the Warri Area Manager, Engineer Rufus Oladimeji.

Some of the area he looked at are; the Slip Way referred to as a major facility in the Maritime industry that was being reactivated for the docking of vessel, the Dock yard machine shop, otherwise known as Boat clinic for the maintenance of vessel parts such as driving shaft and propeller.

Also the newly constructed NIWA Jetty, where the Managing Director requested that the contractor be recalled to put hands rail on the boarding stair case and create an entrance for the bigger vessel crew to disembark easily at the jetty. (Sunday Independent)


Source: News Express

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