The Lagos Area Office of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has warned that it would henceforth deregister and withdraw operational license of any indicted operator(s) over the incessant but avoidable boat accidents on Lagos Waterways.
In a statement on Sunday, NIWA said it would also prosecute and ensure the withdrawal of certificate of any boat captain including other stringent measures to return sanity back in the operation of water transportation services in the state.
Manager in charge of the NIWA Lagos office, Engr. Sarat Braimah, said the Federal Government regulatory agency could no longer fold its hands and watch some deviant operators and their employees run the business aground, noting that NIWA would go the length in ensuring zero tolerance on boat accidents.
She said: “We have tried to provide needed enabling environment for the operators, including training programmes to expose stakeholders to operational standards yet, some have chosen the part of desperation and dangerous behavior, leading to loss of lives and property.”
Braimah further noted that the authority’s patience with the unrepentant operators had been overstretched, as she disclosed plans for a new agenda on enforcement devoid of plea and forgiveness.
She also disclosed that pre-boarding formalities targeted at passengers’ awareness would now form part of the enforcement regime to help stabilize and encourage first timers and those afraid of water transportation, to adhere to safety measures, particularly during turbulence on the waterways.
“Time has also come for passengers to take responsibility, listen and obey boat crew when emergencies or turbulence occurs. Sadly, some passengers go into frenzy and panic mood, and triggering off fearful alarm and causing bedlam leading to avoidable deaths.”
“The new normal on water transportation will see to detailed take-off protocols, pre -boarding checks and physical inspection of use of life jackets and safety talks to adequately prepare the minds of passengers in case of emergency situations,” she said.
She also informed that unscheduled and random checks of boats to ascertain their seaworthiness would incorporate the enforcement strategy.
“The new dawn will be implemented to the letter with passengers addressed in English, Pidgin English, and the three major dialects, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa before take-off, all targeted to ensuring that passengers take responsibility and cooperate with boat crew to ensure a successful and incident free voyage
“We are going to step up our awareness program for stakeholders in this month of August and beyond. We determined to arrest this situation, and hereby enjoin all hands to be on the deck,” Braimah added.