By Esther Onyegbula
Following the increasing numbers of deaths arising from boat mishap within the Lagos waterways, the General Manager Lagos zone, National Inland Waterways Authority, Muazu Sambo, has charged the safety and compliance team and officers of NIWA not to allow anyone without a life jacket to board.
Muazu gave the charge while parading a boat operator, Balogun Oriyomi and his assistant, Solomon Gbenga, who were arrested for carelessly endangering the lives of 12 school children who boarded their boats.
The general manager said that in spite of recent sensitisation campaign embarked by the agency to various jetties across the state, it is disheartening to know that an operator would still convey passengers without life jackets.
He, therefore, instructed that henceforth any passenger who refuses to wear a life jacket should not be allowed to board.
According to him, “Give them back their money. If any passenger feels the life jacket is not clean enough, they should come with their personal life jackets. Also as safety officers, you have a responsibility of ensuring that passengers wear the life jacket properly.”
Emphasizing the importance of wearing a life jacket, Muazu noted “don’t forget that accident happens because of several factors, some of them are beyond human control, and when it happens a life jacket will ensure that you are floating on top of the water for a minimum of about one hour depending on the strength of the life jacket before rescue will come.
“So it is important to be prepared at all times. A life jacket helps passengers to stay afloat and prevent drowning.”
In the case of emergency or mishap, it can easily save lives before the rescue team arrives.
Several lives have been lost from boat mishaps that every necessary step must be taken to protect further loss of lives on our waterways.”
He however assured passengers that the NIWA will not relent in its determination to monitor the activities on the waterways with routine and control inspections.
“We will seek maximum lawful penalties for those who violate safety measures,” he concluded.