Some passengers who ply the Lagos waterways have accused the state government of lacking necessary safety measures needed to save lives while on water.
According to the passengers, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, the government is not taking safety issues serious but rather window-dressing them to “score cheap political points.”
They decried the substandard life jackets provided by private boat operators as well as the untrained personnel working on the waterways.
Their statements came amidst recent increased fatalities on Lagos waterways due to frequent boat accidents.
Last week, the Lagos State Waterways Authority began a safety campaign around jetties across the state to educate waterways’ operators and users on what to do in case of a boat accident.
During the exercise, a waterways passenger at the Ebutte Ero jetty, Tayo Animashaun, interrupted Damilola Emmanuel, the LASWA managing director, who was addressing journalists.
According to Ms. Animashaun, patronage of water transportation has dropped due to lack of adequate safety measures put in place by the regulatory agencies, adding that safety on water has been compromised by government agencies.
She called on the state government to monitor and sanction erring operators who display negligence on safety standards.
Ms. Animashaun called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to investigate the issue of substandard life jackets, noting that a large number of passengers who patronage water transportation are worried about the situation.
“We are regular boat users and I know the state government is trying to make things easier for us as regards water transportation.
“But the regulators are making things difficult for us by painting a negative picture to the governor of the state,” she said.
“Some of the sailors are not trained properly, they don’t understand the rudiment of safety at sea and even some of the ferries are in bad shape yet nobody is there to sanction or monitor all these challenges.”
Mrs. Animashaun said despite Ikorodu having the highest number of waterways passengers, safety measures along that route are regularly compromised by the operators.
Bello Lawal, another passenger, called on the governor to urgently implement measures that would address their plight.
He re-emphasised the need for the governor to put in place mechanism that could confirm their plights.
“A lot has to be done on the waterways because there are so many ills on the inland waterways which LASWA, NIWA and others cannot handle,” he added.
When contacted, Mr. Emmanuel, the LASWA boss, declined to comment on the issues raised by the passengers.