By Dipo Awojobi – The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudahiru Obasa has noted that lack of effective regulations from the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the state Ministry of Transportation were responsible for incessant boat accidents on the state waterways, saying henceforth “you will be held responsible for any accident.”
Obasa made the disclosure on Tuesday after members had listened to comments from the State Commissioner for Transportation, Hon. Dayo Mobereola and the Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mrs. Abisola Kamson during plenary.
The House had last week summoned the Commissioner and the MD of LASWA over re-occurrence of boat accidents that have claimed several lives in the state.
Obasa who expressed displeasure over the responses of the duo, stated that “As we speak, you have no regulations. You have not been able to monitor the activities of the operators and you have been operating without a board.”
“How many times have you taken time to be on the waterways? What is your staff strength? What is the local government doing about this? It shows that you are not in existence without God ,” Obasa said.
The Speaker added that a stakeholders meeting would be called with all the relevant agencies to address the issue holistically.
Earlier in her reaction to questions posed by the lawmakers, LASWA MD said that some of the challenges the Authority has been facing included a judgement that was delivered against LASWA, adding that the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has been leveraging on the judgement.
Kamson explained that some of the causes of the tragedies recorded on the waterways were as a result of over speeding by operators, vessels not fitted with the required technology like speedometer and running into fallen logs along the waterways among others.
She added that “what we are now doing is to work in collaboration with marine police, and for the operators to adhere to safety regulations.”
She disclosed that over 2 million passengers ply the Lagos waterways on monthly basis, adding that all the 26 jetties on the waterways are being manned by water guards who would be responsible for ensuring regulation.
In his comments, the state Commissioner for Transportation, Mobereola said that since the incident occurred there had been stakeholders meeting where LASWA, NIWA, Marine police and the Lagos State Safety Corps were in attendance.
He added that the state government has been doing “everything humanly possible to avert such accidents in future. Water transportation is one of the cardinal programmes of the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and we will also do things in accordance with that regards.”