As flood ravages littoral communities in the country, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has urged boat operators and ferry service providers to stick to safety rules of avoiding overspeeding, overloading, and fueling on transit.
According to NIWA, the present cases of flooding will most likely result in high water tides and operators need to be extra careful to avoid mishaps.
Speaking at a meeting with the Association Of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON), Waterfront Boat Owners and Water Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN), and Maritime workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Sarat Braimah, the area manager of the Lagos Area Office of NIWA, who also raised a red flag against boarding boats without life jackets, urged stakeholders to be committed to passengers’ safety.
Pointing out that the impact of climate change is here in Nigeria, Braimah said it can be seen from the devastating floods which have breached the socio-economic and environmental lifelines of most states in the country.
She said flooding has rendered people homeless and destroyed farmlands and livestock.
“We want to prepare operators to be cautious of the weather forecast and the consequences of high tides on Lagos waters. We want the union to draw the attention of their members to the expected impact of climate change because we cannot afford to sleep over this matter. We must be prepared to confront it headlong if it comes our way,” she said.
Braimah assured operators that the agency will deploy the NIWA task force backed by round-the-clock ambulance services, and proactively manage water hyacinth which is also posing a challenge to boat operations.
Operators however raised concern over the possibility of logs and wrecks being pushed out by flood from the creeks into the waterways, which is posing risk to boat operations.
To erase the fear, Braimah said “We have requested for the clearing of water hyacinth. We have also taken note of the possible challenges of floods pushing out logs and wrecks from the creeks into the waterways and we believe that the ongoing wreck removal efforts will address the problem.”