NIWA, LASWA to improve regulatory system, ensure safe waterways

L-R;  Area Manager, NIWA; MD LASWA and Commissioner of Waterfront leaving Ijede Jetty

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has said that it would collaborate with the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to improve the regulatory framework for water transportation in the state.
Mr Muazu Sambo, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, disclosed this in an interview  in Lagos.
He said the partnership would strengthen efficiency in water transportation in Lagos State and boost the compliance of boat operators to safety standards and the approved modes of operation.
Sambo spoke against the backdrop of recurring cases of boat mishaps in the state.
He said: ``We decided to collaborate when I had a chance meeting with the new managing director of LASWA, who was introduced to me by the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development.
``We resolved that as regulatory agencies of government, we have a common purpose, and if we indeed have a common purpose, there is no reason why we should not collaborate.
``We believe that some operators are taking undue advantage of the disconnect between us by short-changing members of the public in the provision of their services,’’ he said.
Sambo added that the formulation of common standards and compliance arrangements would compel boat operators to acquire better boats, improve safety and provide better services to the public.
On the Jan. 30 boat mishap at Ijede, in Ikorodu, which claimed seven lives, Sambo said both NIWA and LASWA have agreed to revisit the appeal by boat operators for the use of open-roof boats.
NAN reports that some boat operators had called for the use of such boats because they believed it would reduce the risk of passengers getting trapped in the boats during emergencies.
The manager noted that the casualty figures from such incidents would not have been high if the boats were designed with adequate facilities to enable passengers to be able to escape in emergency situations.
He, however, added that all passengers of the ill-fated boat were strapped with their life jackets during the trip.
Sambo, therefore, advised boat operators to ensure that they complied with the best safety requirements, to make their trips safe.