By DAPO OLAWUNI
With expected high Water tides and incidence of floods, ravaging littoral communities around the country, the Lagos Area office of National Inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA), has warned boat operators and ferry services providers , to stick to extant rules of engagement, saying overspeeding, overloading and fueling while on transit will not be tolerated.
The NIWA Lagos Area Manager, Eng Sarat Braimah stated this at a meeting with critical stakeholders including leadership and members of Association Of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters ( ATBOWATON), Waterfront Boat Owners and Water Transporters Association of Nigeria ( WABOTAN) and Maritime workers Union of Nigeria( Mwun), LAGFERRY, Seacoach, and Texas connection.
Eng Sarat warned against boarding boats without life jackets and other sundry activities unbecoming of boating rules, adding that all stakeholders must show commitment to passengers safety, including that of other waterway users.
She reiterated the importance of safety and welfare of passengers on water crafts, adding that the impact of climate change is here in Nigeria and can be seen through lens of devastating floods which breached socioeconomic and environmental lifelines of most states in the country,rendering the people homeless and destroying farm lands and livestock.
” This meeting is to prepare us to be circumspect and not take chances over weather forecast and consequent high tides of lagos waters for granted. We want you to go back to your unit bodies and members to draw their attention to the expected impact of climate change which is here with us, so we cannot afford to sleep over this matter and must therefore, prepare to confront it head long if it comes our way ” she explained.
The meeting also deliberated on how to arrest logs and wrecks pushed out by flood from the creeks into the waterways, posing risk to Boat services and Operations.
Eng Sarat further assured of deploying the NIWA task force, backed by ambulance services round the clock, with proactive management of water Hyacinth which is also moved upstream to the waterways, posing a challenge to Boat Operations.
“We have written to request that Water Hyacinth be cleared and checked. We have also taken note of the possible challenges of having floods pushing out logs and wrecks from the creeks into the waterways and we believe, our ongoing wreck removal efforts, will address the problem,” Eng Sarat further explained, adding, that NIWA Lagos, will partner with stakeholders to ensure any expected weather related challenge on the waterway, is addressed to benefit of Lagos waterway users.