The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transportation of Nigeria (ATBOWAT), on Monday, called on the Federal Government to recruit more marine police to tighten security on the waterways.
The ATBOWAT president, Mr Tarzan Balogun, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, that the lax security on the waterways allowed criminals to carry out their nefarious activities at the creeks unhindered.
“The recent kidnapping of the principal, teacher and students in Epe was carried out through the waterways.
“Pipeline vandals carry out their evil deeds on the waterways and also escape through the same route.
“Robbers who robbed banks at Ikorodu and FESTAC Town in Lagos some time ago, escaped through the waterways.
“The waterways has become an escape route for evil doers, therefore, there is need to mount and boost security on the waterways by deploying more marine police,” Balogun said.
He disclosed that the present number of marine police were not sufficient to combat sea pirates, adding that government needed to deploy more officers on the waterways.
Balogun said the illegal and brazen activities of sea pirates on the waterways had become unbearable.
He called on the state and the Federal Government to team up to address the situation.
“It is time government found a lasting solution to the activities of bandits on our waterways before the situation gets completely out of hand,’’ Balogun said.
The ATBOWAT president also urged the Lagos State government to privatise jetties across the state for proper management and operations.
Balogun said that the jetties were in deplorable conditions and expressed confidence that private investors would manage the jetties better than the government.
He said some of the jetties were located at Badore, Epe, Ikorodu, Osborne, Mile 2, Makoko, Ojo, Ajah, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Badagry.
Balogun urged the state government to also undertake Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to develop the tourism potentials of the waterways.
“Government cannot do it alone. It requires private sector participation to achieve its goals, especially on the hinterland,” he said.
He added that if government improved water transportation system, it would assist in decongesting and dislodging gridlocks on the roads.
Balogun urged the Lagos State government to adopt investor-friendly policies so that boat operators could remain in business.