Amid the anticipated high water-tides and flooding ravaging littoral communities around the country, the Lagos Area Office of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has warned boat operators and ferry services providers to prioritize safety and stick to extant rules of engagement.
The Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Engr. Sarat Braimah made this call in a press statement disseminated yesterday.
She warned boat operators that over-speeding, overloading and fueling while on transit will not be tolerated.
The Area Manager also cautioned against boarding boats without life jackets and other activities violating boat rules, adding that all stakeholders must show commitment to passengers safety and that of other waterway users.
Braimah reiterated the importance of safety and welfare of passengers on water crafts, stressing that the impact of climate change is evident in Nigeria and can be seen with the devastating floods which breached socioeconomic and environmental lifelines of most states in the country.
She expressed regret that the flooding has rendered several citizens homeless and destroying farm lands and livestock.
“This meeting is to prepare us to be circumspect and not take chances over weather forecast and consequent high tides of Lagos waters for granted. We want you to go back to your unit bodies and members to draw their attention to the expected impact of climate change. We cannot afford to sleep over this matter and must therefore prepare to confront it head long if it comes our way,” she explained.
The meeting was attended by leadership and members of Association Of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON), Waterfront Boat Owners and Water Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN) and Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Lagferry, Seacoach, and Texas connection.
Participants also deliberated on how to remove logs and wrecks pushed out by the flood from the creeks into the waterways, stating that this poses risk to boat services and operations.
She equally assured that NIWA taskforce will be deployed with ambulance services round the clock as part of proactive management, even as she observed that the issue of water hyacinth which also moved upstream to the waterways poses a challenge to boat operations.
“We have written to request that Water Hyacinth be cleared and checked. We have also taken note of the possible challenges of having floods pushing out logs and wrecks from the creeks into the waterways and we believe, our ongoing wreck removal efforts will address the problem,” Engr. Braimah further explained.
According to her, NIWA Lagos will partner with stakeholders to ensure any expected weather related challenge on the waterways, is addressed to benefit of Lagos waterways users.