Determined to promote safe inland water transportation in Nigeria, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigeria’s Federal Government apex brown water transportation regulatory agency, has distributed free life Jackets to boat operators in Lagos State.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at the Lagos marina jetty, the hub of water transportation activities to most Inland littoral destinations in Lagos, Sarat Lara Braimah, area manager, NIWA Lagos Office, disclosed that over 2,500 life jackets would be distributed directly to all boat operators in the five heartbeats of Lagos division.
She noted that with increased movements of people and goods expected at yuletide, the NIWA management under the watch of George Moghalu, thought it expedient to profile and reach out to boat operators in Lagos, who have shown commitment to adhering to the rules of engagement on water transportation in the state.
Braimah, who participated in the distribution of life jackets to accredited boat operators at the marina jetty, enjoined beneficiaries to effectively put the quality handmade life jackets to use.
He advised the boat operators to discard with immediate effect, all worn out and poor standard life jackets in order to enhance their level of safety on the water.
She further explained that the free life jackets distribution, which is in line with NIWA’s Corporate Social Responsibility, will be carried out in Badagry, Ikorodu, Epe, and Victoria Island, and it will become the fulcrum of support by NIWA management to all boat operators in Nigeria, and not just to Lagos operators alone.
She said that the gesture is also a part of the strategic policy to ensure total compliance to NIWA operational guidelines on ‘no life jacket, no boarding of boats,’ in the country.
Operators such as Lagos Ferry, Sea Coach Services, and Texas Connection Ferry Services expressed happiness with the NIWA management intervention. They said the gesture will boost the confidence of passengers and operators. They also promised that all operators will put the new life jackets to use.
Over two years of his appointment, George Moghalu, managing director of NIWA has put measures in place to improve the economy of water transportation in Nigeria, using boat operators’ leadership as critical partners.