The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has seized a boat used in conveying school children who were not wearing safety jackets, thereby endangering their lives, on the Lagos lagoon.
Parading the operators of the seized boat before newsmen in Lagos on Monday, the General Manager, Lagos Area Office of NIWA, Muazu Sambo, said the craft was intercepted on Thursday last week.
He said, “In the morning of Thursday 28th March 2019, the management of National Inland Waterways Authority on a control inspection accosted a private passenger boat on the Lagos lagoon. The boat was conveying school children of the Government Secondary School, Tarkwa Bay, to Osborne for a schools event. The route is one of the busiest. Most shockingly, none of the children wore a life jacket on that open boat.”
He said a standard approved life jacket is an essential requirement for water transportation and its use is mandatory, “for it is the only tool that helps to ensure the survival of lives in the unfortunate event of a mishap”.
NIWA, according to him, places high premium on the safety of lives on water.
“The Authority had only recently toured all passenger jetties in Lagos on sensitization campaign on safety, with particular emphasis on the use of life jackets, amongst other requirements. We view this incident as a gross travesty of this campaign, which consequences could have been the avoidable loss of precious young Nigerian lives.
“Consequently, the operator and driver of the impounded boat would be charged to court under extant laws, so as to serve as a severe deterrence to other operators in the industry.
“We have lost so many lives from boat mishaps that every necessary step must be taken to protect further loss of lives on our waterways.
“National Inland Waterways Authority will not relent in its determination to monitor the activities on the inland waterways with routine and control inspections. We will seek maximum lawful penalties for those who violate safety measures on the waterways,” he said.
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