Business

Vandals invade Lagos waters, steal navigational aids

DANGER

There is no lifebouy on Lagos waterways to guide voyagers

 

There are indications that Lagos State waterways are no longer safe for voyagers following the removal of some navigational aids by vandals.

 

The navigational aids were installed by government to assist boat operators while sailing on the waters, but it was gathered that some vandals, who live in the creeks, have removed some of the lights from life buoys and other navigation aids.

 

The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, said in Lagos that there was no insurance cover for passengers boarding commercial boats in Nigerian waterways.

 

 

He explained that the Authority had appealed to riverine communities to stop removing the lights installed on the navigational aids on the waterways.

 

According to him, those stealing the navigational aids were from the riverine areas, saying that somebody who could not swim would not enter into the waters to remove the light on the buoys.

 

Moghalu said: “It is not that we are not conscious of what we are supposed to do, but it is saddening that when you fix these facilities, people go and remove them.

 

Without the lights on them, the buoys become an obstacle in the night, instead of serving the purpose for which it was intended. “The truth is that before any boat is registered by NIWA, the owner of the boat must provide an insurance cover, but there is no group insurance for passengers.

 

There are some of the insurance companies that have approached me to talk about it. “We are still discussing, because we want to work out the modalities and cost implications and who bears the costs and other issues.

 

Some proposals have come; they want to get their money through the boat owners by adding to the cost of fares, hence, if anything happens, they would be in a position to know which insurance company would take responsibility.”

The managing director said that once the Authority concluded with the two insurance companies that had shown interest, NIWA would bring it into public domain.

 

Meanwhile, the Authority has banned rickety boats in all Nigerian inland waterways, saying that uncertified boat drivers would no longer be allowed to operate on Nigerian water. Moghalu said that rickety vessels found violating NIWA’s law would be impounded and its operators would face the wrath of the law.

 

He explained that the Authority was working to ensure that the 10,000 kilometers of inland waterways were opened up for easy transportation of cargoes and persons across the country. Also, NIWA’s Lagos Area Office said that it would deregister and withdraw operational license of any operator indicted over careless accident on Lagos waters.

 

Its Area Manager, Sarat Lara Braimah, an engineer, said that NIWA would also prosecute and ensure the withdrawal of certificate of any boat captain, including other stringent measures, to ensure sanity in the operation of water transportation services in the state

 

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