The Lagos State Waterways Authority on Tuesday launched a safety campaign around jetties across the state to cushion the incessant boat mishaps on the waterways.
The sensitisation and awareness programme, which ends on November 10, is intended to educate both waterways’ operators and users on the need to embrace safety so as to reduce the number of deaths, the agency said.
The agency stated that a simulation exercise would be conducted on the last day of the campaign, to enlighten water users on what to do in case of a boat accident.
Damilola Emmanuel, LASWA’s Managing Director, said the campaign was also aimed at auditing all the jetties in Lagos because most of them need upgrade.
“We will also use the opportunity to create awareness on safety issues like wearing of life jackets, using good boats and enshrine general safety across the waterways,” he said.
“Next week, we shall be running a simulation; like if you put fall into water, what will actually happen to you. People to demonstrate that will wear life jackets and see how it will save them.
“With that, people will be more aware that water transport is the safest mode of transport.”
Three weeks ago, one person died after a passenger boat hit a submerged object and capsized at the Oworonsoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
Last 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.
Mr. 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 first day 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 educated on safety measures.
During the campaign, LASWA promised to tackle issues raised by water users on security and overloading of passengers.