Worried by the incessant but avoidable boat accidents on Lagos waterways, the National Inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA), Lagos area office, has warned that it would deregister and withdraw operational license of any indicted operator.
The authority also warned that it would prosecute and ensure the withdrawal of certificate of defiant boat captains including enforcing other stringent measures to bring back sanity in the operation of water transportation services in the state.
Sarat Lara Braimah, who issued this warning in Lagos at the Weekend, says the Federal Government regulatory agency can no longer fold its hands and watch some defiant operators as well as their employees run the business aground.
She noted that NIWA will go for the shovel in ensuring zero tolerance on boat accidents.
“We have tried to provide needed enabling environment for the operators, including training programmes to expose stakeholders to operational standards yet some have chosen the part of desperation and dangerous behavior, leading to loss of lives and property,” said the Lagos area manager.
Braimah further stated that the authority’s patience with unrepentant operators has been overstretched, and hinted of a new agenda of enforcement devoid of plea and forgiveness.
She also disclosed that pre boarding formalities targeted at passengers’ awareness will now form part of the enforcement regime to help stabilise and encourage first timers and those afraid of water transportation to adhere to safety measures, particularly during turbulence on the waterways.
“Time has come for passengers to take responsibility, listen and obey boat crew when emergencies or turbulence occurs. Sadly, some passengers go into frenzy and panic mood, triggering off fearful alarm and causing chaos that leads to avoidable death,” she stated.
She further said that the new normal on water transportation will see to detailed take off protocols, pre boarding checks and physical inspection of use of life jackets and safety talks to adequately prepare the minds of passengers in case of emergency situations.
She also stated that going forwarding that there would be unscheduled and random checks of boats to ascertain their seaworthiness will incorporate the enforcement strategy.
“The new dawn will be implemented to the letter with passengers addressed in English, Pigin English, and the three major dialects, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa before takeoff, all targeted towards ensuring that passengers take responsibility and cooperate with boat crew to ensure a successful and incident free voyage. We are going to step up our awareness programme for stakeholders in this month of August and beyond. We are determined to arrest this situation, and hereby enjoin all hands to be on the deck,” Braimah further stated.