National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Tuesday announced the ban of speed boats and their activities on Lagos waterways.
This is coming a week after five persons reportedly lost their lives in a boat accident and other series of boat mishaps on the waterways.
Muazu Sambo, the general manager, Lagos Area Office of NIWA, said this while addressing stakeholders at a meeting with boat users under the aegis of United Waterways Passengers Association (UWPA) and Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transportation of Nigeria (NATBOWAT).
Sambo confirmed the incident where five lost their lives, explaining that the boat capsized about 5.57pm mid-sea en route Ikorodu from Lagos Island.
It was also gathered that an unclaimed corpse is still lying at the morgue because the identity of the corpse remained unknown, according to sunnewsonline.
Sambo who regretted the incessant deaths recorded on the Lagos waterways, also lamented the lack of standard fibre boats on the waterways.
He said that the authority had given operators enough time to standardise their operations, which they failed to do.
“As far as I am the area manager of Lagos Office, ‘flying coffins’ won’t operate again. In 2016, we gave them enough time to standardise their operations by giving them opportunities to seek loans but they have refused.
On how to stop avoidable deaths on the Lagos inland waterways, Sambo said beach masters would be deployed to various jetties in the state.
“Beach masters will be in place across jetties in Lagos within the next two weeks. The beach masters will receive uniforms, merchant navy training and they will have a code of conducts. We will let you know who the beach masters are and contacts of the search and rescue teams. NIWA will also be visiting the jetties at random and seizing substandard life jackets,” he said.
On the issue of education and enlightenment of passengers, Sambo said they would be trained on enforcing standards on the inland waterways.
“Education and enlightenment is critical and we will address that on the deployment of beach masters and they will be trained. Their duties include enforcement of safety standards at the jetties at all times. Also, we will make sure that boat captains are not drunk. There will equally be quarterly awareness campaigns on safety,” he said.
Sambo also identified wrecks, logs and fishermen as obstacles of safe navigation on the Lagos inland waterways.
“We have received ministerial approval to remove wrecks but it is cumbersome and there are processes and it started last year and we got approval last year and we want to use the opportunity to remove a lot of wrecks in the Lagos inland waterways.” Sambo, noted.