By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has tipped the newly floated Waterfronts Boat Owners and Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN) to resolve most of the challenges confronting the Lagos waterways and for training of boat riders and owners.
The General Manager of LASWA, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel on Thursday received the leadership of WABOTAN led by its National President, Mr Babatope Fajemirokun, it’s National Secretary, Kafo Lateef, Spokesman, Chief Raymond Gold among others.
The LASWA General Manager after listening to the aims and objectives of WABOTAN which dwell majorly on promoting safety and security on waterways, training operators and creating a database which would assist the various government agencies.
He commended the leadership for their foresight, adding that the Authority would always watch out and monitor to ensure they do not derail from it’s implementation.
“A lot of associations have been coming to us at NIWA, but all they are about is money, it has been a deciding factor.
For me, I would be monitoring you closely, especially on your aims and objectives, from today, we have already set a benchmark for you, between now and December, we would have a review of these objectives
“We as an authority would be watching to see that you are operating within the premise of what you promised to do, we are concerned to see how you can fulfill these objectives, this is our primary objective.
“The issues you have itemized are the major problems currently bedeviling the waterways, so if you can come in and solve it, trust me, it would be an ‘A’ star for your association” he said
The LASWA boss asked to be furnished with formal documentation of the association and frequent updates.
Speaking earlier National President of WABOTAN, Mr Babatope Fajemirokun said the association is incorporated under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 as amended, and fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
According to him, the association has been existing in the past five years, but that it decided to play the back role.
“Part of our aims and objectives is; promoting safety and security on our waterways, training and re-training of our members to develop and build manpower for the water transport sector.
“Creating a database that can assist in the implementation of plans. To assis the various government agencies in collecting government revenue in a seamless manner. We are also set up to empower our members to build wealth and reducing poverty.
Mr Fajemirokun noted that WABOTAN has its membership spread across the litoral states of the country, and that in Lagos alone, it boasts of 250 members registered. He added that at almost all the jetties, WABOTAN has boat riders and owners who are members.
Mr Fajemirokun dismissed thoughts of conflicts between WABOTAN and other sister associations who have been in existence, especially the ATBOWATON, saying that WABOTAN is only going to complement on their successes.
He cleared that 95% of WABOTAN members are new members and not existing members of any of the sister associations.
“The ATBOWATON and other associations and stakeholders that have been on the waterways before us, we shall be partnering with them, including the Maritime Workers Union (MWUN)
“In terms of dues and payments, there would be nothing like double taxation. If you identify with an association, I don’t see the possibility of belonging to two associations. The MWUN is set up by the trade union Act, while we are set up by CAMA, these are two different things, not all union members belong to an association, and there is freedom of association.” he stated.
Also speaking, National Publicity Secretary of WABOTAN, Chief Raymond Gold assured that the association is here to develop water transportation to a viable and sustainable alternative to the challenges being faced on our roads.
“Our association has actually been around for some years, but this time around, we felt we should regularize it, so we got incorporated, we have been active participants in the water transport sector.
“We feel that we can develop water transportation to a viable and sustainable alternative to the challenges we have on our roads.
We are now seeking partnership with relevant government departments, ministries and agencies.
“We have in place, a multipurpose society through which our members can access micro credit, you agree with me that, this would to a large extent reduce poverty, whatever we are doing, we are supporting the government. In a way, we would be reducing joblessness, taking people away from crime, increasing the number of boats on the waterways.
“In doing this, with partnership from the government agencies, the dues payable to the government would be collected through our association inna seamless manner.
“We have started developing a database already, and figures should be as transparent as possible. Government has no problem running after the practitioners, they would collect their revenue” he assured