The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has confirmed the occurrence of a boat mishap on 29th June, 2019 at about 2200hours in the Lagos Lagoon, between Badore in Ajah (Eti – Osa Local Government Area) and Egbin (Ikorodu L.G.A).
According to NIWA, its investigations by the Lagos Area Office revealed that 21 persons including men and women boarded an unmarked fibre boat W19 with 60HP engine. None of the passengers was wearing a life jacket.
The Press Release from the Lagos Area office added that “boat is designed to take not more than 10 persons. The jetty at Badore is a substandard jetty that has previously been sealed by the Authority. It is owned and run by the Itom Community in Badore.
“The boat capsized midway across the Lagoon most likely as a result of high tidal waves which was not helped by the boat being over loaded by twice its capacity as well as the fact that it was sailing at night making search and rescue efforts more difficult.
“Following the incident, three persons survived, 10 bodies were recovered, while eight are still missing as at the time of this press release. Co-ordinated rescue efforts and investigations are still ongoing.
“Management of the National Inland Waterways Authority wishes to convey its deep condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, even as we pray that the Lord will give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses.
“Furthermore, the Authority wishes to use this opportunity to sound another strong warning to boat operators and passengers alike, over the need to observe and adhere to water travel extant rules and regulations”.
NIWA added that the incident “is yet another clear case of violations of subsisting laws and regulations in the sense that:
1.Owners of the jetty are doubly culpable for operating an already sealed jetty at night.
2.The operator is culpable for travelling at night, over – loading and the non-provision of life jackets.
3.The passengers sadly boarded without life jackets despite the Authority’s sustained routine campaign of safety awareness at all the passenger jetties in the state”.
The Authority says it has effected the arrest of all persons deemed culpable under extant laws, for prosecution in order to serve as a deterrent measure against future occurrences of such gross violations.
“In conclusion, the National Inland Waterways Authority once again calls on the general public and all stakeholders in water transportation in particular, to comply with all extant laws and regulations concerning water transportation in order to save lives and prevent needless and avoidable deaths on our waterways”.