..Oiganises awareness campaign
As part of measures to further ensure safety of lives on waterways, especially during boat mishaps, the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, has warned boats operators to always ensure passengers uses life jacket before embarking on any voyage, saying failure would henceforth, attract severe sanction.
This came as LASWA, on Tuesday conducted a simulation exercise on rescue of victims of boat mishap at Ebute-Ero Jetty, Lagos Island, as part of the ongoing safety campaign across jetties in the state on the need to imbibe safety culture on waterways aimed at reducing incidences of deaths.
The simulation exercise conducted to enlighten water users on what to do in case of a boat accident was done by LASWA in collaboration with members of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA.
Managing Director, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, explained that the campaign was also aimed at auditing all the jetties in Lagos because most of them need upgrade.
According to Emmanuel, “After the exercise which come to an end this week, we will be giving all operators on waterways, two weeks to comply with safety guidelines and laws, particularly, compulsory use of life jackets fir passengers. Lagos state government recently, distributed over 2,500 life jackets to boat operators for their passengers to use despite the fact that it is not the duty of government to do so.
“Any operator that fails to comply after the expiration of the grace period will be stopped from operating and prosecuted accordingly.
“This exercise has afforded the opportunity to create awareness on safety issues like wearing of life jackets, using good boats and enshrine general safety across the waterways.”
“The simulation was about victim who wore life jacket and the other who did not where it showed how wearing life jackets can save boat mishap victims.
“With that, people will be more aware that water transport is the safest mode of transport.”
Emmanuel said the frequent accidents on the waterways had led to a reduction in the number of people using that means of transportation.
“The number of passengers dropped from 2,000,000 monthly to 1,500,000 because of fear of safety,” he said.
“But we are looking into increasing the number at the upcoming months after the sensitisation exercise.”
On the flag off of the safety campaign, five jetties were visited. Operators and passengers at Bayeku and Ijede jetties in Ikorodu as well as those in the Badore, Langbasa and Oke-Iranla jetties in Ajah axis also were enlightened on safety measures.
During the campaign, LASWA promised to tackle issues raised by water users on security and overloading of passengers.
It will be recalled, recently, one person died after a passenger boat hit a submerged object and capsized at the Oworonsoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
Also sometime in August, 12 people died in a boat accident in the Ilashe area in an incident which LASWA attributed to overloading of passengers on an illegal jetty.