During a campaign to raise awareness in the Sagbo Koji neighborhood of Lagos, Engr. Sarat Braimah, Lagos Area Manager for the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), demonstrates to local leaders the distinction between fake and genuine life jackets.
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has gotten a new law to hand out 7-year jail to owners of jetties when boat operators breach regulations as part of measures to control the danger of boat accidents and subsequent loss of lives. NIWA confiscates shoddy jackets in riverine towns.
This was disclosed by the NIWA’s Lagos Area Manager, Engr. Sarat Braimah, when she took NIWA representatives around some riverine areas in Lagos during a program to raise awareness of the issue.
Braimah claims that the new legislation is a part of the government’s endeavor to stop the constant loss of life brought on by failure to follow waterway regulations.
“The Ministry of Justice has published a new waterway legislation that mandates 7 years in prison for local government officials who run jetties as well as private operators when boats are overloaded.
Operators and passengers who disregard waterway standards, such as failing to wear life jackets, are subject to the same fine, according to the NIWA Area Manager.
During the tour, Engr. Sarat Braimah ordered the confiscation of subpar life jackets that had been discovered at retail establishments around the villages, even as she compared them to dangerous fake narcotics.
The NIWA boss used the chance to distinguish between fake or inferior life jackets and standard ones while providing genuine life jackets to the communities.
She emphasized that NIWA has outlawed night sailing after 7 o’clock, noting that the majority of boat accidents happen in the early morning or late at night.
At one of the riverine settlements they visited, Sagbo Koji, Braimah said: “We are here to talk with your community to reduce boat accidents and the ensuing loss of lives. While we work together to solve the difficulties involving the human element, you can point out areas in which the government might be improved. Most boat accidents are caused by human error, namely breaking rules.
“We have emphasized numerous times that there should be no night sailing after 7 o’clock. Instead of putting your life in danger at night, it is preferable to stay alive and travel the next day. I beg the three Baales present to assist us in doing this. Licenses are necessary for boat drivers since education is essential. Don’t support unidentified and unregistered vessels. NIWA stickers will be available to identify registered boats.
She urged boat drivers not to operate vessels without paddles because they wouldn’t be able to get such vessels to the nearest land in the event that the boat engine failed unexpectedly.
Baale Anthony Avime, Sagbo Koji, Baale Houeto Bernard, Whla Koji, and Baale Sohome Bishop Koji, among other community leaders, praised NIWA for the sensitization visit.
Bobby Sanni, the community youth leader at Sagbo Koji, recommended the Authority to include youths in their taskforce because they might help highlight nocturnal operations since most police personnel and NIWA agents leave jetties at 6 p.m.
As she led the NIWA team to the Irede community in Abule-Osun and the Ibeshe community for the sensitization campaign, the NIWA Area Manager responded by assuring the audience that the Authority will work with the local youths to fulfill its mandate.
Other errors in boat operations mentioned by the NIWA boss include speeding and dangerous driving, operating rickety and leaky boats, violating passenger manifests, failing to have a fire extinguisher on hand, driving while intoxicated or high, fighting at jetties, and obstructing or attacking taskforce members who are on duty.
Additionally, she provided boat operators and community leaders in several localities with the Authority’s emergency numbers.