By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos—Tragedy struck on Lagos motorways again, yesterday, when a boat with no fewer than 19 passengers on board, in Ilashe area capsized in the middle of the lagoon, killing 12 people, while four were rescued.
Ilashe, is a sleepy village and tranquil oasis, along Badagry Creek. The locals of Ilashe are fishermen and farmers
According to reports, the tragedy occurred at about 3pm with passengers mainly traders and locals who daily commute on boats affected.
Meantime, the Lagos State Government, yesterday, confirmed the death of nine persons in the boat mishap in Ilashe area of the state.
In a reaction by the Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, Engr Abisola Kamson, the State Government attributed the unfortunate mishap to overloading of passengers on a Banana Boat and operation of illegal jetty.
Kamson said four victims of the mishap who were rescued are receiving treatment at a nearby hospital, while search and rescue operation was still on-going.
While commiserating with the families of those that lost their loved ones, the State Government said the mishap had again brought to the fore the need for the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to respect the recent verdict of the Court of Appeal which upheld the powers of the State Government to control its intra-inland waterways.
Going into details of the mishap, Kamson said: “An unfortunate incident occurred at Ilashe today Sunday August 20th arising from overloading of passengers on a Banana boat taking off from an illegal Jetty which has become a perennial issue of the Lagos State Government to rid our Waterfront areas of illegal operators.
“We sympathize with the families of the deceased as nine lives were lost in the mishap and four people receiving treatment in the hospital.
“The LASWA rescue team has been on ground and search is still on-going. This brings to fore again the need for NIWA to allow the judgement of the Appeal Court granting Lagos Control of her waterways to take effect without hindrance.
“It is a matter for regret that ever since the judgement was pronounced, NIWA has ejected all State Water Guards monitoring standards from all Federal owned jetties. In spite of this, the Government of Lagos State aligns with the safety of citizens on the waterways. All Lagosians are enjoined to wear standard life jackets at all times on our Waterways,” Kamson said.
Besides, the LASWA boss urged boat operators and other stakeholders in the inland waterways sector to adhere strictly to safety standards at all times.