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Boat Mishap: NIWA Deploys Ambulance On Lagos Waterways 

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Abiola Seun In response to incessant boat mishaps on the Lagos inland waterways, the managing director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu, has approved the deployment of new ambulance boat to the Lagos area office.The new water craft fitted with amber lights and two 175 Horse Power engines made by Yamaha, with cream colour leather interior, fitted with medical equipment, first aid boxes, communication system, and stretchers, will form the fulcrum rapid response to accidents on Lagos waterways.Rugged and built to ferry accident victims and those who require immediate medical attention to the nearest hospital and Medical Hold Bay, the ambulance watercraft can travel at controlled timing without fear or anxieties of being buffeted by high impact waves. Recall that the Lagos waterways has busiest watercraft traffic year round with heritage operators and water users targeted for safety advocacy by NIWA, Lagos office which has deployed its task force to curb mishaps on the waterways.It could be recalled that the NIWA MD had last week promised to deploy ambulance on the nation’s waterways starting from the Lagos area office.He, however, stated that accidents on the waterways happened mostly at night and early in the morning.“Ever since I assumed office, I distribute life jackets to operator across the country regularly, and we have teams that monitor jetties and the waterways, but it is sad to know that 90% of accidents that happen on our waterways occur either late in the night or early in the morning. And the reason is simple; the vehicles they’re using have no night navigational aids.“And what have we done? We have banned vessels taking off between 7pm and 6am, but people will now take their boats to a shoreline or riverbank and sail without life jackets or use expired life jackets. They don’t even know that life jackets expire. “We keep doing sensitisation programmes to train them; we still did one in Badagry recently, training 450 boat operators. We mandate them to renew their licenses, just like you renew your vehicle licenses. Today, you can electronically register boats, and they now have license plates on them. We have even shut down some jetties, because they’re not secure.”“The last accident that happened in Mazamaza was in the night. The boat didn’t take off from a jetty but from a waterline, had no night navigational aid and the two people that died had no life jackets on. Every life is important, and we cannot, as an organisation, continue to watch people die, so we sensitise people and beg them to practice safety.”

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