By Ranmilowo Ojalumo
As part of effort to put an end to boat mishaps on the Lagos Waterways, the Lagos State Government has vowed to enforce safety measures and go after substandard boat operators.
According to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Bolanle Ogunlola (Mrs.), the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel made the declaration while reacting to questions on the Morning Show on Arise television station.
The General Manager who condoled with the families of victims who lost their lives in the recent boat mishaps in the State noted that his agency has done so much to reduce the issue of boat mishaps to the barest minimum.
Part of the safety measures Emmanuel explained, is the LASWA’s Search and Rescue Unit which was established to fully deal with incident operations in the different locations of the State Water Ways to improve response time during emergencies.
Emmanuel further disclosed that with the huge potential of water transportation in Lagos State, the State Government is doing all it can to ensure that the sector is not only viable but safe and is thus ready to come down hard on any operator who endangers the lives of people while operating in the sector.
He said, “One of the boat drivers whose actions led to a boat mishap some years back was recently sentenced to life imprisonment. We are coming harder on operators who are compromising standards. With the huge capital committed to the water transportation sector, we cannot fold our arms and allow mediocrity.
The LASWA General Manager further stated that his agency parley with the manufacturer of Yamaha, which manufactures most of the engines used in boats in Lagos State to reduce the price they are selling to the boat operators to enhance safety while running the boats journey.
He admonished passengers on the water ways to be safety conscious always. “The life jacket can save you. Buy your own life jacket if you must. Inspect the life jackets that you are given and make sure it does not have holes or is torn, while avoiding night travels. Safety consciousness is a collective responsibility, if you see something unusual on the Waterways, say it” the General Manager said.