Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has called for effective action to be taken to free waterways of water hyacinth which he said is impeding the development of water transport as an alternative mode.
Akeredolu, who made the call in Akure during a courtesy visit to him by a delegation from the Nigerian Maritime and Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Thursday, said the waterways could serve as another major means of travel in Nigeria.
“When water hyacinth is properly harvested, it could be used for something else, even for biogas,” noting that waterways in Nigeria is clogged with water hyacinth, urging that something be done to harvest them.
The governor said the time had come to have a proper department for maritime studies in any of the state’s higher institutions and expressed the readiness of the state government to partner NIMASA to develop the waterways in the state.
He said: “Most boats in our coastal areas were built by our people. They have mastered that art, they have skills and we can tap into it.”
Earlier, Rotimi Fasakin, Executive Director (Operations) of NIMASA, said the visit was to leverage on the state’s efforts to make the waterways pollution- free.
Fasakin said the visit was also to sensitise people in the riverside areas on security and adequate management of maritime space.
He also promised to work on the possibility of making the Araromi-Lagos route a reality to enhance transportation on the waterways.
He said: “All these are geared toward making our impact felt in a larger dimension.
“Ondo State constitutes a large portion of Nigeria’s expansive coastline, so it’s important that the state should be able to exploit the resources of the marine environment.”