The National Inland Waterways Authourity (NIWA), has given a 14-day ultimatum to owners of sunken vessels and abandoned equipment within its maritime domain in Rivers to remove them or face sanctions.
The Agency gave the ultimatum on Thursday in Port Harcourt in a statement by its Area Manager, Port Harcourt, Mr Abdullahi Dabai, on behalf of the Managing Director, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora.
According to the statement the wrecks and abandoned equipment have affected safety, security and smooth maritime operations in the area.
Dabai said that the ultimatum which took effect from Jan. 17 would expire after Jan. 30.
He said the authority was determined to ensure that such wrecks were evacuated and disposed to enhance safety and security if owners failed to do so within the stipulated period.
According to Dabai abandoned equipment and wrecks were on Rivers and Creeks and the Right-of-Way of NIWA spanning “100 metres perpendicular from the edge of both banks of the River and Creeks’’.
He also stated 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.
It is an offense for any person to willfully or negligently and without the consent of the authority to obstruct the waterways with rafts; nets; logs; cask of oil; dredgers; barges; pipelines; pylons; and bridges.
The NIWA Act also regard as an offense for anyone to take sand, gravel or stone from the waterways either in manual, hydraulic or mechanical means.