The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Lagos has concluded arrangements to arraign a boat operator, Mr Balogun Oruyomi and the driver for carrying 12 school children from Takwa Bay with out life jackets.
This sad development is coming despite the huge sensitisation carried out by NIWA on the need for every boat operator to operate with life jackets.
The boat which was impounded by the management of NIWA on a control inspection on Thursday March 28 on the Lagos Lagoon was conveying school children of Government Secondary School, Takwa Bay on one of the busiest route with none of the children wearing a life jacket in the open boat.
Speaking while parading the boat operator and the driver, at the area office in CMS today, Monday April 1, a visibly angry area manager NIWA, Lagos Engr. Sambo Muazu stated that the boat operator and the driver of the impounded boat would be charged to court under extanct laws, so as to serve as a deterrent to other operators in the industry.
Muazu warned the boat operators not to carry stubborn passengers who refuse to use life jackets.
He said many lives have been lost from boat mishaps that every necessary step must be taken to protect further loss of lives on the country’s waterways.
Muazu noted that a standard approved life jacket is an essential requirement for water transportation, adding that its use is mandatory because it is the only tool that helps to ensure the survival of lives in the unfortunate event of a mishap.
The NIWA area general manager Lagos stated that nobody can rule out the possibility of a mishap occurring on any trip at any given time as a result of several factors that may be beyond human control.
In his words: “The National Inland Water Authority places high premium on the safety of lives on water. The Authority had only recently toured all passenger jetties in Lagos on sensitisation campaign on safety. With particular emphasis on the use of life jackets amongst other requirements. We view this incident as a gross travesty of this campaign which consequences could have been the avoidable loss of precious young Nigerian lives.”
Muazu used the opportunity of the media briefing to solicit the support of all Nigerians, especially the stakeholders in the water transportation sub sector and the media to support the Authority in its campaign toward safety on the country’s waterways.
The boat operator and the driver