The Lagos State Government has urged boat operators on the waterways to avoid intake of alcohol while on duty to avoid the increasing rates of boat mishaps in the state.
The state’s Commissioner of Transportation, Dr Dr. Frederic Oladeinde. made the disclosure during the 3rd Annual Stakeholders Forum in collaboration with the Badagry Chambers of Commerce in Lagos on Sunday.
The Theme of the forum was: Stakeholders Engagement on Operational Guidelines for Boat Operators.
Lawanson who was represented by Consultant on marine Affairs, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said not all the boat mishap was attributed to engine failure, adding that constant intake of alcohol also caused accidents on water.
“Avoid taking alcohol on water, if you are intoxicated, you may endangered the lives of passengers as well as yourself.
“The Lagos State Government had put various policies in place in ensuring safety of lives on sea,” Lawanson said.
In his opening remarks, The Managing Director, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said that despite the ravaging effects of the pandemic, the use of water transport in Lagos State witnessed tremendous transformation.
Emmanuel said that there was increased in ridership figures on the waterways in the state.
The LASWA boss said with over two million monthly riders, the state waterways was able to withstand significant pressure shifted from the road traffic, yet the potentials were endless.
He said the safety of all waterways users in Lagos state was one of the cardinal objective of LASWA which was a great priority to them adding that it would not shy away from their primary responsibility.
Emmanuel said engaging stakeholders in the water transport sector was to deliberate on issues bothering on safety guidelines and improvement on water transport operations specifically on the Ọjọ-Badagry Axis of the state.
He said: “We are all saddened and worried by the unfortunate incidents of boat mishaps recorded on this axis especially in recent past. We pray to the Almighty to grant the families of departed souls the fortitude to bear the loss.
“To forestall reoccurrence of such regrettable incidences, today we are issuing out new Operational Guidelines for Ferry Operations in the state while restricting the usage of jetties across the entire Badagry axis.
“LASWA has also donate 500 Life Jackets of different sizes that will be distributed to all boat users and participants here at the forum.
“We have also commenced a massive safety awareness campaign across all jetties and terminals in order to educate and sensitize ferry passengers and Boat Operators on safety procedures.”
Emmanuel said as a responsible agency, it would not relent on our efforts at making sure the accident record was near-zero.
He added that LASWA would not rest on their oars untill it achieved a clean, safe and prosperous Waterways in Lagos.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Akran of Badagry, Aholu-Menu Toyi 1, urged government to ensured provision of at least twice enlightenment programmers for boat operators to enhance water transportation in Badagry.
Toyi, who was represented by Baale of Topo, Chief Michael Avose, commended the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, Badagry Chapter for facilitating the enlightenment programme and advised boat operators to avoid taking alcohol when on boat.
In his goodwill message, Secretary, Lagos State, Private Boat Operators, Mr Owolabi Omotayo, commended the state government through LASWA for its prompt rescue during the last boat mishap in Badagry recently.
Omotayo said that the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), had been working with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in ensuring the boat operators were trained and certified.
Also, Lt. Commodore Dan Nehemiah, Base Operator Officer Badagry, pleaded with LASWA management to monitor the boat operators in order to regulate indiscriminate erection of jetty.
Nehemiah alleged that they usually engage in late-night operations and they had relaxed with the COVID-19 guidelines.
The President, Badagry Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BACCIMA) Fatai Shokunbi, appealed to LASWA to ensured Badagry was not left behind on development drive in the state.