- Inaugurates Emir of Borgu Kingdom as life patron
Association of Tourists Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria, ATBOWATON has inaugurated the Borgu chapter of the group and the investiture of the Emir of Borgu Kingdom, Senator Haliru Dantoro, Kitoro 111 of Borgu as their life patron .
In his remarks at the occasion, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sanni Bello promised to provide facilities that will aid the member of the association in their operations in the state like provision filling stations on the waterways among other things.
He applauded ATBOWATON for their choice of the Emir of Borgu Kingdom because of his solid personality and achievements, which will also help in promoting water transportation in the state and country in general.
Governor Bello also lauded the Emir for his contribution to the growth of the Nigerian polity, especially to change that is sweeping throughout the political landscape of the country.
In his lecture at the event, titled ‘the promotion of tourism and water based transportation on the plains of Borgu and its environs, lessons for contemporary times’, the former permanent secretary Kogi state ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr. Mubo Eniola, stated that travel and tourism will continue to be one of the world largest industries.
Dr. Eniola noted that the country has an estimated 3,000 kilometres of navigable waterways from the Nigeria/Nger and Nigeria/ Cameron borders to the Atlantic Ocean.
He listed water and tourism cultural resources of Borgu plains and environs to include, Kainji Hydro Electric Dam, Jebba Dam, Kainji Lake National Park, Pissa Cave near Babana, Mungo Park Tomb and ship (SS Day Spring) wrecked near Jebba town in 1857, the Archipelago, Fanga Island on river Niger near Jebba and overlooking Juju Rocks which is a beauty spot among others.
According to him, Borgu plains and environs are naturally endowed with Aqua, Flora and Fauna resources as the Sudan Savannah which is found in Borgu plains and environs is characterised by little or no tall trees, as the grass is mainly covered by tall grass and thus responsible for the construction of the wildlife population in the vegetation zone, while notable cultural heritage resources abounds in New Bussa and Kaiama axis of the Borgu pla ins and environs which also include, the Durbar, Gani, Festival and the internationally renowned Takkai Dancers.
Dr. Eniola explained further that apart from the Kinji Hydro Electric Dam and the Kainji Lake National Park that are developed, all most other tourism resources/assets are awaiting development especially in leisure/ recreation provision in water related sports and activities that should complement the services of the old federal government project.
He said up till now, the Borgu plains and environs have little or no presence of the federal government in water management despite the areas huge water resources, facilities like moorings, jetty services and marina facilities.
The former permanent secretary noted that prohibitive costs of boats, and their engines, water sporting equipment, spare parts, cost of ship crises has made water related recreation an exclusive form of vacation for the rich.
He said the invasion of the waterways by bandits especially pirates and armed robbers portend dangers for leisure travels on our waterways, maintain that a case in hand was the recent Union Bank robbery in Ikorodu as well illegal bunkering and pipeline vandals.
Dr. Eniola stressed the need for effective policing by Marine Police of Nigeria’s waterways.
In his address, the national president of ATBOWATON, Ganiyu Tarzan Sekoni-Balogun stated that Nigeria with over 2000km waterways spread across 28 states of the federation deserves a unique water transportation system.
Balogun said the operators of this unique water transportation system merit a security conscious and morally based umbrella body that would carter for the users of the waterways.
He outlined the aims of the Association to include, promoting the development of water transportation system as supplement and solution to decongest Nigerian roads, ensuring safety of waterways users in the country, promoting the development of riverine communities, working with government at all levels to implement policy statements and maintain the government developed infrastructures even to international standard.
The president of ATBOWATON explained that the investiture of the Emir of Borgu Kingdom as their life patron was due to his foundation as boat operator and boat owner in inland waterways in the country, including his immense contribution to inland water policy as a senator and his special interest in the development of tourism and water transportation as revealed in the yearly Gani Durbar which he personally organised.
“Despite the fact that ATBOWATON is the highest consumer of fuel, we still suffer to buy fuel. Again no benefit of any kind was derived from Sure P Programme of the federal government unlike our counterparts in the road transportation industry that were given thousands of buses. Many roads were constructed and rehabilitated throughout Nigeria, whereas a very few jetties were constructed throughout Nigeria”, Balogun said.
The Emir, Dr. Dantoro in his acceptance speech thanked members of ATBOWATON for the honour done to him by his investiture as the life patron of the association.
He promised to work more assiduously for the promotion and safety of water transportation in the country.
At the event, some deserving Nigerians were presented with awards by the Association for their support and contribution to the growth of water transportation in the country.
The investiture which attracted the political big wigs in and outside the state including, the state governor, Mr. Abubakar Sanni Bello, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the acting managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Barrister Danladi Ibrahim among others provided the opportunity for the unveiling of the book on the Emir of Borgu, titled, Dantoro, the Emir of History and destiny.
Highlight of the event was a boat cruise with the Governor and other members of his entourage along the Kainji water front which featured fantastic displays by members of the Association.