Wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode has urged boat operators to observe safety standards to avoid mishaps and loss of lives.
She gave the charge at Aiyetoro in Epe, during the distribution of over 700 life jackets to some schools in Epe Local Government Area, by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), in partnership with Total Nigeria Limited.
She said safety was too important to be compromised, urging the operators to streamline their operations to make safety a priority.
According to her, “there has been a series of unpleasant incidents of boat mishaps around this area in the past; some involving school pupils while going across the lagoon to their various schools.”
She said users of water mode of transportation face the uncertainty of safe arrival, urging boat operators to reduce this risk.
She said, “These circumstances informed the initiative of LASWA and Total Nigeria Limited, in donating life jackets to pupils schooling in the riverine areas of Epe Local Government.”
She added that the government had introduced measures to improve water transportation, including the construction of modern jetties and the enforcement of safety rules among boat operators.
Ambode, who called for the upholding of the “No life jackets, no water travel” campaign, asked boat operators to shun overloading, night travels and boat cruising by untrained persons.
Observing that safety on water must be a collective responsibility; she urged parents, teachers, school managements and LASWA to step up safety advocacy among users of water transportation in Lagos State.
Earlier, the Managing Director of LASWA, Abisola Kamson, said the donation was part of strategies aimed at improving access to gadgets to promote safety of the vulnerable , especially pupils in riverine areas.
She said the administration was determined to safeguard the waterways, and ensure the safety of lives of those living in the riverine areas whose main source of transportation remains the waterways.
She said every child or adult embarking on water journey deserved to be protected and must, therefore, make use of life jackets.
The Executive Secretary, Epe Local Government, Ahmed Seriki, said the initiative was the first of its kind in Epe community.
He urged residents to be safety conscious, advising them to call the toll free numbers – 767 and 112 in an emergency.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of jackets to pupils of some schools, a demonstration of how the jackets are worn and removed before and after each journey and a demonstration of the administration of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on adults and children.
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