By Cliffsimeon Akalonu
The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria, (ATBOWATON) recently expressed its excitement in working with Federal and Lagos State governments to making sure that safety is assured on our waterways.
This follows the recent clampdown of a jetty in Egbin community, by some concerned groups of the 20 people who boarded a ferry without life jackets and which amounted to loss of lives.
Speaking to Cliffsimeon Akalonu, the Lagos State Chairman, ATBOWATON, Hon. Lawal, said that, government should stop using divide and rule pattern on the association once water transport is concerned.
He said that, “there is no need using double policies that is none existing and stop keeping the association on the side of being used as revenue generator. If the state and federal government can work with us, there is no way one could operate unregistered jetty, perform operations outside the normal time members of the association closes for business.  If every member of ATBOWATON can close by 7pm and somebody is operating by 9 – 10pm in the night then; it calls for concern”.
He added that “because of the recent mishap in Lagos and to enhance safety on the water ways, we as an association has made it mandatory that all operators should stop carrying overload, boats that can carry 23 persons should reduce to 20 and 12 passengers boat should also decrease to carrying 10 passengers. Government should build floating jetties within the water way areas”, the association said.
In a related development, after a fact finding and submission of suggestions, the Lagos State chapter of ATBOWATON, has cried to the National body through its National President, Engnr. Gani Tarzan, to advocate on behalf of the association to the presidency/ministry of transportation and Lagos State govt, to always carry stakeholders along when government is making water policies and to contact the association when they are building new jetties.
Also, the National President ATBOWATON, while in a stake holders meeting recently in Lagos, a meeting summoned by the King of Langbasa, warned the public and community people present, to avoid boarding boats without life jackets and make a mandatory request for it from boat operators.
The National President also warned passengers and the general public to stop moving at night because there is no rescue boat by that time; there is no signage at that time to show where there is wrecks and that there is no signage to even show where the fishermen are, at that time in the night.

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