Lagos – The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) on Monday said that arrangements had been concluded to launch fresh guidelines for safety and growth of water transportation in the state.
The Managing Director of LASWA, Miss Abisola Akamson, stated this at a news conference in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Akamson said that the state government was committed to aggressive reform of water transport through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“We are coming up with the new guidelines to further enhance safety on the waterways.
“The fresh guidelines have to do with the quality of boats, size of boats, types of engine of boats that can operate on our waterways.
“It also looks at speed, general safety features and insurance required by operators to ensure safety on waterways,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes her as saying.
According to her, the authority will give a period for compliance before it will commence the enforcement of the guidelines.
Akamson said that the collaboration between the authority and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was helpful in coming up with fresh guidelines for the development and safety on waterways.
She said that the authority was confident that there would be a significant change in the state’s water transportation to ease traffic on roads.
“The core function of LASWA is to act as a regulatory agency for all movements on waterways. We are to provide enabling infrastructure that will promote water transport.
“We do oversight of all operations on waterways and provision of jetties and we collaborate with marine police on monitoring to ensure security on waterways,’’ the managing director said.
The LASWA boss said that the authority was making efforts to curb illegal access on waterways to enhance security, adding that access should only be restricted to state’s designated jetties and terminus.
On clearance of water hyacinths and debris on waterways, she said that the authority had been engaging local people to help, while efforts were underway for mechanised clearing.
The managing director said that the authority was prepared for hyacinths, adding that efforts would be made to sensitise the public against human wastes thrown into water.
On risks posed by the activities of loggers and fishermen to the safety of boat operators, Akamson said that the authority was working hard to define routes for all commercial boat operators to avert interference.
According to her, routes for boats will be properly channelled to stop interference with other users of waterways.
Akamson noted that about two million people used waterways monthly, saying that efforts had been made to strengthen the authority’s water guards to enforce safety rules.
She said that LASWA would employ more water guards to enhance patrol on waterways.
The managing director said that all boat captains would be subjected to a re-orientation and certification programmes to ensure that only qualified operators were engaged in water transports.
She urged all canoe and boat operators to ensure compliance with safety rules and regulations, stressing that the use of standard life jackets was non-negotiable in all voyages. (NAN)