The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has warned that it would henceforth deregister, withdraw the operational license(s) and prosecute any operator(s) whose actions are found to contravene provisions of its guidelines for water transportation, thereby causing boat accidents.
NIWA in a press statement made available to TNMN said the Lagos Area Office will begin to prosecute and ensure the withdrawal of the certificate of any boat captain while enforcing other stringent measures to force back sanity in the operation of water transportation services in the State.
According to the Lagos Area Manager, Engr Sarat Lara Braimah, NIWA can no longer fold its hands and watch some deviant operators and their employees cause havoc through their actions, adding that the Authority will go for the shovel in ensuring zero tolerance for boat accidents.
She said that the Authority’s patience with the unrepentant operators has been overstretched, and hinted of a new agenda of enforcement devoid of plea and forgiveness.
She also disclosed that pre boarding formalities targeted at passengers awareness will now form part of the enforcement regime to help stabilize and encourage first timers and those afraid of water transportation to adhere to safety measures, particularly during turbulence on the waterways.
Her words; ” We have tried to provide the needed enabling environment for the operators, including training programmes to expose stakeholders to operational standards yet some have chosen the part of desperation and dangerous behaviour, leading to loss of lives and property
” Time has also come for passengers to take responsibility, listen and obey boat crew when emergencies or turbulence occurs. Sadly, some passengers go into frenzy and panic mood, and triggering off fearful alarm and causing bedlam leading to avoidable deaths.”
The Area Manager stated that the new normal on water transportation would see to detailed take off protocols, pre boarding checks and physical inspection of use of life jackets and safety talks to adequately prepare the minds of passengers in case of emergency situations.
She added that unscheduled and random checks of boats to ascertain their seaworthiness would incorporate the enforcement strategy.
“The new dawn will be implemented to the letter with passengers addressed in English, Pigin English, and the three major dialects, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa before take off, all targeted to ensuring that passengers take responsibility and corporate with boat crew to ensure a successful and incident free voyage
” We are going to step up our awareness program for stakeholders in this month of August and beyond. We determined to arrest this situation, and hereby enjoin all hands to be on the deck.” Engineer Braimah further stated.