Following a fatal boat accident that occurred on Friday at about 8pm along Ikorodu Channel of the State Waterways, the Lagos State Government, has again, warned all ferry operators and passengers against violating the laid down rule of ‘No Night travel’ on the waterways.
Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde said the avoidable boat mishap occurred after an overloaded 20-passenger capacity commercial ferry took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty around 8pm heading towards Ikorodu but unfortunately ran into an unforeseen object on the Waterways causing the boat to capsize.
He said the immediate rescue efforts deployed by the State government, comprising of Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) search party, local boat operators search team, the Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), were able to save 16 passengers, one in critical condition, while five deaths were recorded.
The Commissioner, alongside the General Manager (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, who was at the Ikorodu scene of the incident, commiserated with the families of the dead passengers and assured that the violators of the mishap will be prosecuted as the unfortunate incident is already under investigation.
Oladeinde appealed to all ferry operators to desist from acting contrary to the stipulated safety guidelines in order to avoid such incidents, noting that if the rule of ‘No Night Travel’ on the waterways from 6.00 pm had been strictly observed by the operators, the accident could have been averted
In his remarks at the scene of the incident, the General Manager LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel reiterated that, henceforth, any operator who violates any of the laid down safety guidelines, especially the ‘no night travel’ rule, would be arrested by the Marine Police and the boat involved confiscated.
He also admonished passengers to stop waterways night journeys as any passenger found on board of such boats after the stipulated time would also be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the State.