Home News Address problems of illegal dredging, Stakeholders urge LASG

Address problems of illegal dredging, Stakeholders urge LASG


Lagos  –   Stakeholders in Lagos State water transportation have urged the State Government to address problems of illegal dredging and fishing.

They also called on the state government to tackle lack of channelisation and navigational buoys and poor regulation to curb water mishaps.

They spoke at the stakeholders’ meeting organised by the State House of Assembly Adhoc Committee on Boat Mishaps on the Waterways in the state on Friday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting entitled: “The Incessant Boat Mishaps on the Waterways in the State; Causes and Solution,’’ was held at Lateef Jakande Auditorium at the Assembly.

The stakeholders said that government agencies such as the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Lagos State Security Safety Commission, Lagos Ferry Services and the Ministry of Transportation needed to do more to improve safety on the waterways.

According to them, many boat operators are uncertified while the regulating agencies also lack capacity to enforce laws and attend to emergencies.

In his submission, DSP Benjamin Ogungbure, Lagos State Marine Police, said that submerged objects in water and activities of loggers posed a threat to the safety of boat operators.

Ogungbure added that poor weather, incompetence of boat operators, speeding, worthiness, overloading, drunkenness and lack of familiarisation of the terrain by boat operators as other factors for losses on waterways.

He said: “The non-availability of tidal guard, inadequate safety equipments, communication gaps between boat operators, owners and regulating agencies, water pollution, fishing activities and lack of concentration results into boat mishaps.’’

Ogungbure, however, recommended clearing of logs, periodic dredging, training workshop, proper certification, erection of navigational signs and provision of live saving apparatus and proper survey of boats as the way forward.

Also speaking, Mr Charles Ogbonnaya, the Lagos State Commander of Man ‘O War, said: “We strongly feel that there is need for more collaboration between security agents and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to bring confidence of commuters back to water transport.’’

He said that there should be more awareness about safety regulations, safety jackets, first aid, passenger manifest, contacts in case of emergency and compliance with speed limits.

A representative of the Nigerian Red Cross, Mr Godwin Johnson, also advised that first aid boxes should be provided for victims, while volunteer Red Cross officers should be employed to man jetties.

A boat operator, Mr Akeem Balogun, said that there were several invincible objects in waterways that posed danger to boat operators and their passengers on the waterways.

Another operator, Mr Zakari Dekina of the Metro Ferry Marine Services, who said that the water regulators lack the capacity and operational tools to carry out their duty, called for channelisation of waterways.

Dekina said: “LASWA patrol are nowhere to be found on waterways again as it was before.

“Water hyacinths pose challenge to safety. So, government has not done enough in this area too.’’

A maritime consultant, Mr John Chukwu, however, advised the government to come up with maritime master plan with a map showing navigational road.

Chukwu said: “The map would be made public like the street maps. The waterways would open up economic activities.

“We need to dredge the water ways and we will have signboards on the waterways like we have on the road.’’

Another operator, Mr Lateef Onikoyi, said most operators did not have the knowledge of marine operation and operational licenses.

Mr Ganiyu Balogun, the Managing Director of Tarzan Boats, who advised loggers to tie their logs well until they get to their destination, also urged dredgers to block leakages.

While urging for the strengthening LASWA with equipment, Balogun also noted that boat seats should be well constructed to allow passengers escape in emergency.

In his keynote address, Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, enjoined the stakeholders to raise alarm each time they notice any anomaly in the water transport.

He promised that all their observations would be given speedy treatment by the House, stressing that he would work with the governor to protect lives and properties in the state.

Obasa said: “We all have roles to play; we will not leave it to government alone, let raise alarm to move forward and develop water transportation.

“Let us report and caution boat operators who flout safety regulations.

“We are ready to serve and protect the lives of the people. We will collate and harmonise all contributions for necessary actions.’’

The Chairman of the Adhoc Committee of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, assured that the government was committed to developing water transport and making it safe.

Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the House, said that the committee would collate all submissions and present it to the Assembly for further action to improve safety on the state’s water transport.

Some other stakeholders at the meeting included the Commissioner for Transport, Dr Dayo Mobereola, officials from LASWA, Lagos State Safety Commission, Red Cross, Man ‘O War, Nigerian Navy, Marine Police and boat operators, among others. (NAN)

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