The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) has agreed to set up a joint task force to monitor activities of boat operators and other water users, particularly after 7pm on Lagos waterways.
It should be recalled that an unmarked boat owned by a riverine community in Lagos recently at about 10pm in the night capsized midway across the Lagos Lagoon with 21 passengers on board, none said to be wearing jacket.
The boat designed for 10 persons had taken from a substandard jetty earlier sealed off by NIWA and overloaded beyond its carrying capacity, hence the avoidable midnight mishap.
Speaking during a condolence and fact finding visit by ATBOWATON leadership led by its National President, Mr Tarzan Balogun, NIWA’s General Manager, Lagos Zonal office, Engineer Mauzu Sambo disclosed that the federal government regulatory authority appreciates the concern and dedication shown by the organised body of registered boat operators to discourage night travels on water and the regular campaign to its members to desist from overloading and other sundry regulation expectations.
To ensure total compliance, Sambo who commended ATBOWATON as a responsible stakeholder, informed that the authority will partner and corporate with the organised private sector regulatory body of registered boat operators to find and power a safety taskforce to ensure total compliance of extant regulations and to check illegal movements on the waterways after dusk.
Speaking earlier on their mission to NIWA, Mr Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun, President and Lagos chapter chairman, Alhaji Lawal Babatunde, all of ATBOWATON noted that the association was concerned about the incident despite the fact that the operator of the boat is not their member and called on NIWA to investigate and seal up substandard jetties in Lagos where unwholesome boat services activities thrive.

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