The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has urged boat operators to ignore threat of sanctions by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) pending the final outcome of the case in courts.
Responding to enquiries by the NigerianTribune on possible sanctions being meted out to operators who defy the Lagos State directive on regulation of inland waterways in the state, the spokesman of NIWA, Tayo Fadile explained that boat operators can go about their normal businesses without fear.
According to Fadile, in a text message to the Nigerian Tribune, “I will encourage operators to wait for the courts to resolve the issues and see what the final outcome will be.”
The Lagos Safety Commission said that it would soon commence an annual certification of all boats operating on the Lagos waterways in order to ensure safety of both passengers and operators.
The Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Hon. Hakeem Dickson made this known in a goodwill message at the second annual Stakeholders’ Forum on Water Transportation organized by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Lagos recently.
Dickson disclosed that after a boat had been properly inspected and certified safe to ply on the Lagos waterways, a certificate would be issued to the operator with which he would proceed to LASWA to be registered.
”Safety commission will be coming once in a while to make sure that after you must have done your registration, you still have to come down to safety commission to verify the certificate that says that your boat is safe. We will do the proper inspection to make sure it is not even leaking, there is no crack on it and you have proper documentations and that certificate will be issued to you that you will later take to LASWA before you can be registered. And this is something that will be done every year.”
He insisted that all boats operating in Lagos would have to be issued with a plate number for easy identification in the event of crime, adding that, that is the trend everywhere in the world.
“You will definitely have a plate number like you have in your car, it gives that boat identification that someone will still use to do insurance to cover, not only the boat but the people who enters it. So, these are the conditions that we will not compromise. There are three of them, the plate number will be properly registered, the insurance will be there, then the auditing before certification.
“Believe me, it will be done properly and we will not compromise because people’s lives are in, and we need to save them no matter what it takes. If you have a boat that is not fit, we will not certify you, we will take you off the waters. It costs us more. Do you know how much it costs LASEMA to do any emergency because of somebody’s negligence? Let us take it seriously, the governor is sick and tired of any type of accident. We can all prevent it if we do the right thing at the right time,” he added.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director of LASWA, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, pointed out that the first edition of the forum which took place in 2015 was the beginning of a new phase in the project called LASWA, saying that from 2015 up until now, there had been continuous and recently introduced interventions on the waterways.
Emmanuel mentioned the interventions to include continuous donation of life jackets, cleaning up exercise specifically to the water hyacinth machine, inspection of boats , monitoring of the waterways, water savvy kids programmes among others.
He noted that LASWA as the inland waterways regulator for Lagos state continued to play this role of ensuring safety and various interventions on the waterways despite its not being able to generate substantial revenue due to the court injunction on the 28th March,2014
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