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NIWA cautions ferry service operators against accidents, deaths, on waterways in flood zones

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The Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mrs. Sarat Braimah, has warned boat operators and ferry service providers to observe necessary rules to avoid boat mishap.

Braimoh, in a statement on Saturday, after meeting with stakeholders on water transportation to deliberate on expected high tides and incidence of flood in littoral communities across Nigeria, warned the operators against excessive speeding, overloading and fueling while in transit, saying such attitude would no longer be tolerated.

Braimoh pleaded with the stakeholders to stop boarding boats without life jackets and avoid other sundry activities unbecoming of boating rules.

She said that all stakeholders should show commitment to passengers’ safety, including those of other waterway users.

Braimoh reiterated the importance of safety and welfare of passengers on water crafts, adding that the impact of climate change was here in Nigeria.

The manager said this could be seen through lens of devastating floods.

She said that flood had breached socioeconomic and environmental lifelines of most states in the country, rendering people homeless and destroying farms, 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 which is here with us.

”So, we cannot afford to sleep over this matter and must, therefore, prepare to confront it headlong if it comes our way,” she said.

The meeting also deliberated on how to arrest logs and wrecks pushed out by flood from the creeks into the waterways, posing risk to boat services and operations.

Braimoh assured of deployment of the NIWA task force, backed by ambulance services, round the clock, with proactive management of water hyacinth which was also moved upstream to the waterways, posing a challenge to boat operations.

”We have written to request that water hyacinth should be cleared and checked.

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”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,” Braimoh said.

She said that NIWA in Lagos would partner with stakeholders to ensure that any expected weather-related challenge on the waterways was addressed to the benefit of Lagos waterways users.

Braimoh said those at the meeting include community leadership and members of Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON).

Others with representatives at the meeting are, Waterfront Boat Owners and Water Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN), Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), LAGFERRY, Seacoach and Texas connection.

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