By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos, Aug. 3, 2020 The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) says its past efforts have prevented several boat mishaps from happening on the state waterways.
He said that LASWA would intensify more efforts to ensure the safety of its passengers.
Its General Manager, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, gave the assurances on Monday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the backdrop of a recent boat mishap which claimed more than 10 lives.
Emmanuel blamed the July 29 mishap in Kirikiri on disregard by the boat operator to the rules and regulations against night travel.
He said that the authority had not failed in its mandate to regulate and enforce rules.
According to him, LASWA in collaboration with other relevant agencies recorded zero mishap on the waterways in the first six months of 2020.
Emmanuel said: “Through our reforms and operations, we have been able to prevent several mishaps on the waterways. In fact, between January and June, we recorded zero accident on the waterways.
“We will not let down our guard. In this year, we have positioned water guards at state-owned jetties for enforcement of regulations and enhancement of safety on the waterways.
“LASWA Enforcement Team has been monitoring and patrolling the waterways. LASWA has also carried out several awareness, enlightenment and sensitisation on emergency and safety both in the media and at the jetties.”
He said that the authority had also partnered the Lagos State Safety Commission and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency to enhance safety and emergency operations.
The LASWA boss said that the authority had donated thousands of life jackets to its passengers, cleared and recycled water hyacinths, and engaged in bi-annual and random spot inspection of boats to enhance safety.
“We are partnering the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Food and Beverages Recycling Alliance (FBRA) toward the clean-up of plastic wastes on the waterways in our efforts to guarantee safety.
“Also, we have installed navigational buoys along the Five-Cowry Creek as well as safety and directional signages this year.
“We have plans to recruit more water guards to enhance the capacity of the existing ones. We also plan to install navigational buoys to other water routes.
“Also, our plan is to deploy volunteers from the safety commission to jetties and landings without LASWA oversight,” he added.
Emmanuel said that the authority also planned to upgrade emergency and rescue systems in three divisions of the state while also establishing water monitoring and data centres.
He said that the state government would soon purchase 15 more standard patrol boats and install safety and directional signages to other locations on the waterways.
According to him, the authority will work harder on boat captains and deckhands while continuing sensitisation, awareness and enlightenment to foster safety on the waterways.
Emmanuel said that the authority would promote volunteer-emergency-response team through local boat operators to complement the efforts of the state emergency rescue system.