The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, urged stakeholders to utilise its over 10,500 kilometres of inland waterways to enhance transportation and boost the economy.
Jamoh said during chats with journalists on Saturday in Kaduna that the maritime potentials was huge and government should think out of the box to utilise it.
According to him, the government should develop short term, medium and long term plan 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 such as hospitality industry and connecting roads to villages would open the rural economy for the benefit of the country.
“When you’ve 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 has huge fish potentials 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 D-G urged the media to propagate what we have in terms of 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.”