By GODFREY BIVBERE
Three persons were feared dead after the motor boat on which they were riding from Tincan Island Port to Ojo area of Lagos capsized Thursday at about 8.30 pm while returning from work.
A passenger who identified himself as Peter, told Saturday Vanguard that the incident occurred when the operator of the boat tried to maneuver his boat from another oncoming boat but eventually lost control. Peter who claimed to be in another boat when the incident happened, explained that they had to go and assist the 10 passengers in the small boat.
According to him, they were only able to rescue seven of the passengers while they could not see the other three. As at yesterday morning when Saturday Vanguard visited the area, the boat operators refused to comment on the issue but confirmed that the incident actually occurred.
One of the operators said they were expecting the corpses of the passengers to come afloat yesterday.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Managing Director of the Lagos State Water Transport Authority, LASTWA, Yinka Morinho, on the issue proved abortive as he did not pick his call or respond to text message sent to him.
Boat rides between Apapa and Ojo axes have improved among people living around Ojo area but work at Apapa.
A freight forwarder, Okey Ibeawuchi, who spoke with Saturday Vanguard on the issue said he has not seen Mile2 for about two months because he prefers to go by boat as it saves his time. According to Ibeawuchi, at the height of the traffic jam on that route, he spent between five and six hours to and from work every day and that was not good for his health.
He noted that although he knows the risk involved in traveling by boat, he still preferred it as the journey by boat takes between 20 and 45 minutes depending on the boat by which one is traveling. The freight forwarder explained that while the boat with 150 horse power takes between 15 and 25 minutes, the 75 horse power boat takes between 35 to 45 minutes.
While he acknowledged that passengers are mandated to wear live jackets as security measure , he said it is not enough as the boats do not have cover. He called on the Lagos state government to come to the aid of the operators by providing them soft loan with which to acquire better boats to ply the route.