The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says it has reduced activities on the Nigerian waterways to curtail the spread of the ravaging COVID-19.
Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director of NIWA, made the disclosure in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak, NIWA directed operators on the waterways to minimise their activities to give room for social distancing as advised by the government.
He said NIWA also supplied sanitisers, hand gloves, masks and other materials to jetties across the country in compliance with preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Federal Ministry of Health.
According to him, these materials were distributed through the organisation’s area offices.
“Presently, operations on the waterways are on a skeletal level, we told operators to minimise their activities and they have complied.
“We have made them understand that any vessel operating now will not operate at full capacity, likewise boat operators.
“The operators have been told to convey half of their usual passengers capacity, meaning if a boat is supposed to convey 20 passengers, 10 should be carried now.
“This will give room for social distancing just like vehicles are not allowed to carry full capacity.
“We have also provided some materials like sanitisers, hand gloves, masks and other materials at various jetties and passengers points across the country,” he told NAN.
Moghalu said that to further ensure adequate sensitisation on COVID-19, some pamphlets had been produced and distributed at all jetties to educate the populace on preventive measures.
He said the corporate affairs department of the organisation would look into the possibility of producing the pamphlets in other local languages for adequate comprehension for some people.
“We distribute the pamphlets at all take-off and landing points, encouraging people to observe what they have been told to do at this critical period,” the NIWA boss said.
Moghalu commended Federal Government’s efforts so far in containing the spread of coronavirus, urging the National Orientation Agency(NOA) to come up with more innovative ideas on sensitising the populace.
“NOA with offices in all the local government areas should create innovative platforms to educate people at the grassroots on COVID-19.
“Leaders at various levels should engage in some kind of sensitisation too,” he said.