Danger looms on Lagos waterways as night boat trips persist
ANOTHER boat mishap currently looms on Lagos waterways as findings have revealed that evening and night boat trips from the port city of Apapa to places like Ikorodu and Agbara/Badagry area still persist in some unmanned jetties in the state.
When the Nigerian Tribune recently visited the Liverpool jetty in Apapa around 7pm in the evening, some port workers were seen waiting for boat rides across the lagoon to Agbara and Badagry area of the state.
When the Nigerian Tribune correspondent asked one of the passengers if a boat was still being expected, she explained that a boat just left and another was being expected. According to the lady who works in one of the port terminals in Tin-Can Island port, “A boat just left and we are expecting another. The driver of the boat that just left helped us put a call through to one of his colleagues and he said he is on his way here.”
When asked if she was not scared that it was already getting late and the trip could be risky, the lady replied that even life itself was a risk.
“Everything in life is a risk. Even if I go by road, which may take me another four hours to get home due to the heavy traffic on the roads, anything can happen because everything in life is a risk. As you can see, I have my life jacket on. I bought it for personal use and take it along with me any time I come to work from home through the lagoon. From work to my house in Agbara is less than an hour boat ride. It’s already getting late and I need to get home on time to prepare dinner for my family. If I go by road, then I won’t get home until past 10pm or even close to 11pm,’ the Tin-Can port worker explained.
While few have personal life jackets and take them along on every boat trip, others simply don’t care about such tools. Many of the passengers waiting for a late night boat ride to Badagry that fateful day were seen not wearing or holding any life jacket despite repeated warnings by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).
Meanwhile, in a related development, the LASWA has reiterated its commitment to all waterways users to henceforth adhere strictly to safety rules in the state.
In a statement issued recently by the General Manager of LASWA, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, the agency said that all boat operators must adhere strictly to night travel restrictions placed on all ferry movement to avoid heavy sanctions. The agency also added that all ferry captains must ensure they have sufficient fuel in their tanks whenever they are embarking on any trip, even if it is a short travel distance.
Recall that most accidents that have claimed lives on the Lagos waterways have occurred at nights due to poor visibility that makes the likelihood of a collision between an onrushing boat and a floating object more likely.
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