The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to owners of abandoned vessels, equipment and wrecks within its maritime domain in Rivers State to remove them or face severe sanctions.
The authority issued the ultimatum in Port Harcourt through its Area Manager, Mr. Abdullahi Dabai, on behalf of the Managing Director, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora.
The agency stated that the wrecks and abandoned equipment were constituting impediments to safety, security and smooth maritime operations in the Port Harcourt area.
Dabai also warned that the ultimatum which took effect from January 17 and would expire come January 31, would be vigorously pursued because the authority was determined to ensure that critical wrecks were evacuated and disposed to guarantee safety.
He warned that if owners failed to do so within the stipulated period they would face sanctions.
Dabai said the abandoned equipment and wrecks on Rivers and Creeks were on the Right-of- Way of NIWA, spanning “100 metres perpendicular from the edge of both banks of the River and Creeks’’.
He also said that owners of such wrecks and equipment could approach NIWA Area Office at Marine Base for identification and certainty of ownership to facilitate removal and evacuation.
The law, he said, makes it an offence for any person to, without the consent of the authority to obstruct the waterways with rafts, nets, logs, pipelines, pylons and bridges.