NIWA Issues 3-Months Ultimatum For Mandatory Training, License by Boat Operators

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Eng Sarat Braimah

In a bid to enhance water safety and address recent spates of mishaps, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Lagos Area Office has organized a pivotal industry meeting and safety sensitization program for boat skippers and deck hands operating in Lagos waterways.

Engr. Sarat Braimah, the NIWA Lagos Area Manager, during the meeting at the Area Office in Lagos on Saturday underscored the significance of the meeting, stating its primary purpose was to address challenges faced by boat operators, express concerns, and collectively strategize a way forward. She lamented the recent surge in mishaps, emphasizing that ensuring the safety of waterways is a shared responsibility.

Highlighting the lack of basic safety measures among boat operators, Braimah announced NIWA’s collaboration with certified trainers to provide training at the rate of N80,000. Upon successful completion, operators will receive a license valid for three years, renewable upon expiration.

Braimah also noted that boat operators are granted a three-month window to undergo training and obtain licenses, after which enforcement will commence. She stressed that errant operators failing to comply will face sanctions and prosecution.

Mrs. Elsie Egwantu, NIWA HOD Marine, stressed the importance of refreshing memories and sensitizing operators on safety measures. She urged operators to actively participate, express concerns, and engage in the process.

During the session, boat operators voiced concerns about inadequate remuneration, receiving a meager N3,000 per day with only one day off work. To meet trip targets, some operators admitted to managing faulty engines, leading to overspeeding. They explained that the rush to beat the 7:00 pm jetty closure time, avoiding a N50,000 penalty from LASWA, contributed to the unsafe practices.

The event saw the participation of over 180 boat captains from various jetties, including Ebute Ero, Majidun, Mayegun, Ijede, Ibeshe, Ofin, Badore, and Ajah.

Notably, nine boat captains have already undergone the training, obtaining the necessary certification and license.

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