The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has said that it accosted a private passenger boat on the Lagos lagoon, conveying school children of the Government Secondary School, Tarkwa Bay, to Osborne for a schools event.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Mr. Tayo Fadile who disclosed this a press statement he issued in Lokoja yesterday said that although the route was one of the busiest routes, it was shocking to discover that none of the children wore life jacket on that open boat as at the time it was impounded.
Fadile noted that a standard approved life jacket was an essential requirement for water transportation and that its use was mandatory as it was the only tool that helps to ensure the survival of lives in the unfortunate event of a mishap.
He said, “What is more, nobody can rule out the possibility of a mishap occurring on any trip at any given time, as a result of several factors that may be beyond human control. The National Inland Waterways Authority places a very high premium on the safety of lives on water”.
He recalled that the Authority had only recently toured all passenger jetties in Lagos on sensitization campaign on safety, with particular emphasis on the use of life jackets, amongst other requirements adding that it viewed the incident as a gross travesty of the campaign, which consequences could have been the avoidable loss of precious young Nigerian lives.
“Consequently, the Operator and Driver of the impounded boat would be charged to Court under extant laws, so as to serve as a severe deterrent to other operators in the industry. We have lost so many lives from boat mishaps that every necessary step must be taken to protect further loss of lives on our waterways.
“National inland waterways will not relent in efforts to monitor the activities on the island waterways with routine and control inspections. We will seek maximum lawful penalties for those who violate safety measures on the waterways”, he stated.
He however called on all Nigerians, stakeholders in the water transportation sub-sector and the media to support the Authority in its campaign towards safety on the nation’s waterways .
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