Lagos boat operators still flout safety standards
By MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
One year after a boat mishap in Igbede Community, Otto-Awori Local Council Development Area, LCDA, commuters of water transport especially in the riverine axis of the state, are yet to comply with the state safety standards.
It will be recalled that 10 school children and two women drowned on February 13, 2012 when the boat conveying them to school capsized.
Pained by the tragedy and other boat mishaps that followed, the state government in October 2012, said it would enforce the usage of life jackets for water transportation in the state.
Vanguard investigation at some local jetties in Ojo Local Government and Otto-Awori LCDA, however, revealed that passengers still don’t comply with the state government safety standards on water ways.
Investigation by Vanguard revealed that the state government established the Lagos Safety Commission, to enlightened the public on the importance of safety in the state.
The state government also established the Lagos State Waterways Authority, to monitor the water ways in the state and ensure that anyone on the water ways complied with safety standards of using life jackets.
Speaking to Vanguard, Mrs. Folashade Omotayo, a resident of Ese-offin, one of the riverine communities, said “I don’t use it because I was born over 25 years ago in this community, I can swim perfectly. So I don’t need to wear the jacket.”
Omotayo, a nursing mother added “The life jacket isn’t so important because anyone paddling commercial canoe must have passed through a rigorous training from experts.”
Also Mr. Timothy Oghene, argued “I contact communicable diseases from the usage of life jackets. And the reason for this is that the jackets are not washed regularly by those managing the boats.
“I complained but they failed to yield to my argument that was why I stopped using it whenever I board canoe. And since a larger percent of the canoe transporting passengers on the water ways were powered with outboard engines, I don’t panic on the water ways.”