Survivors of Lagos boat mishap blame it on speeding

Two survivors of the boat mishap that occurred on Saturday evening within the Ikorodu waterways on Tuesday in Lagos told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident was due to speeding.

A survivor, Miss Christiana Audu, 27,  a teacher at Chasteville School, Ajah-Lagos, told NAN that she boarded the boat by 8:00 p.m. at Oke-Ira and was heading home to Ikorodu.

She said although the 22 occupants of the boat spoke out against the high speed at which it was moving through the darkness, the operator ignored them.

Audu also said the wave was high and the occupants also brought this to the notice of the operator.

“Suddenly, water started getting into the boat and before anyone could tell the operator: ‘we warned you’, the boat was already sinking.

“I don’t know how to swim but my life jacket kept me afloat and I finally got hold of a bamboo pole and held on to it, until I was rescued by fishermen three hours later.

“I involuntarily drank a lot of water before the bamboo pole became my raft,” she said.

Another survivor, a male, who wanted to be referred to as Alfa, expressed bitterness at the death of four of the boat passengers “because the boat operator indirectly killed them by speeding.

“Contrary to what some people have been rumouring, the boat was not overloaded.; it had its exact 22 passengers but the operator was deaf to our warnings and wanted to kill us by running too fast,” Alfa said.

He also claimed not being able to swim but managed to stay afloat with the aid of his life jacket until help came by midnight and he was rescued.

Meanwhile, the Lagos Waterways Authority (LASWA) said that all the 22 occupants of the ill-fated boat had been accounted for with 18 rescued alive and four dead.

LASWA’s Managing Director, Mr Olayinka Marinho, said that the boat operator should have heeded the authority’s warning not to travel in the night.

Marinho, however, told NAN that investigations into the accident had begun.