Following a boat accident that occurred last night around 8.00pm along Ikorodu Channel of the Lagos State Waterways which claimed Five lives, Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority, (LASWA) has again issued out warning to all Ferry Operators and passengers against night journey, warning that the State Government’s ‘No Night travelling’ on the waterways directive is still in place.
Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation Dr Frederic Oladeinde who paid an unscheduled condolence visit to the scene of the accident at Ikorodu this morning explained that the accident was avoidable if the operators had followed the State Government directive of no night journey and 60% loading capacity.
Accompanied by the General Manager, Lagos State Inland Water Authority( LASWA) Mr Damilola Emmanuel, the Commissioner stated further that the 20 passengers ill- fated boat apart from taking off illegally around 8pm in the night at Ebute Ero Jetty also overloaded as 21 passengers were on board when the accident occurred.
“the avoidable boat mishap occurred after a 20 passengers capacity commercial ferry with 21 passengers on board took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty at about few minutes past 8.00pm heading towards Ikorodu, ran into an unknown object on the Waterways causing the boat to capsize” Oladeinde stated
According to him,16 passengers were rescued alive while 5 persons were confirmed dead with one survivor following an immediate rescue efforts deployed by the authority after the news of the accident was broken.
” it is regrettable to confirm that there are 5 casualties from this mishap, also 16 passengers have been rescued alive with one person in critical condition through the efforts of LASWA Search Party, Local Boat Operators search team, the Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA)” Oladeinde stated
The Commissioner while commiserating with the Families of the deceased passengers, assured that necessary action would be taken to ensure that thorough investigation is carried out, promising that all those responsible for the mishap would be prosecuted according to the law.
Oladeinde in an emotion laden voice, urged Ferry Operators to desist from breaking government laid down safety guidelines to avoid a reoccurrence of the incident.
He added that the unfortunate incident would have been avoided if the rule of no night travelling on the waterways from 6.00pm had been strictly complied with by the operators.
Also speaking at the scene of the incident, LASWA General Manager , Mr. Damilola Emmanuel warned that henceforth, any Operator who violated any of the safety guidelines especially the no night travelling rule, would be arrested by the Marine Police , while their boat would be impounded .
He urged passengers too to desist from embarking on night journey on water ways, as any passenger found on board of such boats at night will also be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the State.