Segun Oladipupo |
National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has threatened to withdraw the license of indicted boat operators in Lagos.
This is coming on the heels of what the Authority described as incessant but avoidable boat accidents on Lagos Waterways.
In a press release by Frank Meke, Media Adviser to NIWA, the Lagos Area Manager, Engr. Sarat Braimah was quoted as saying that NIWA would also prosecute and ensure the withdrawal of certificate of any boat captain, among other stringent measures to force back sanity in the operation of water transportation services in the state.
Engr. Braimah added that the federal regulatory agency could no longer fold its hands and watch some deviant operators and their employees run the business aground, noting that NIWA would go for the shovel in ensuring zero tolerance on boat accidents.
Her words, “We have tried to provide needed enabling environment for the operators, including training programmes to expose stakeholders to operational standards yet some have chosen the part of desperation and dangerous behaviour, leading to loss of lives and property” explained the Lagos area manager.
According to her, the authority’s patience with the unrepentant operators has been overstretched, and hinted of a new agenda of enforcement devoid of plea and forgiveness.
She also disclosed that pre- boarding formalities targeted at passengers’ awareness will now form part of the enforcement regime to help stabilize and encourage first timers and those afraid of water transportation to adhere to safety measures, particularly during turbulence on the waterways.
“Time has also come for passengers to take responsibility, listen and obey boat crew when emergencies or turbulence occurs. Sadly, some passengers go into frenzy and panic mood, and triggering off fearful alarm and causing bedlam leading to avoidable deaths.” She stated.
The NIWA Area Manager added that the new norm on water transportation will see to detailed take-off protocols, pre- boarding checks and physical inspection of use of life jackets and safety talks to adequately prepare the minds of passengers in case of emergency situations.
She maintained that unscheduled and random checks of boats to ascertain their seaworthiness will incorporate the enforcement strategy.
“The new dawn will be implemented to the letter with passengers addressed in English, Pidgin English, and the three major dialects, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa before take- off, all targeted to ensuring that passengers take responsibility and cooperate with boat crew to ensure a successful and incident free voyage.
“We are going to step up our awareness programme for stakeholders in this month of August and beyond. We are determined to arrest this situation, and hereby enjoin all hands to be on the deck”, Engineer Sarat further stated.
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