Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah handing out Life Jackets to riverine communities in Lagos State
Lagos Riverine Communities Where Night Boat Trips Persists
Fred Omotara, Lagos
Although the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have repeatedly announced the ban on night navigation along the Lagos waterways due to poor visibility and higher risks of boat mishaps occuring at this period, some riverine communities still use waterways transport at nights, kadecommunicationng can authoritatively confirm.
Findings by kadecommunicationng have revealed that three communities in Amuwo-Odofin area of Lagos State, Sagbo-Koji, Bishop-Koji and Whla-Koji Communities still engage in night boat trips due to the nature of their occupation.
Recall that the recent drowning of 19 members of the Sunmola Aniajogun family of Ibeshe in Mazamaza jetty was due to the fact that the boat operated around 7:45pm, outside the 6:30pm stoppage time mandated by NIWA for waterways navigation.
Explaining why they still use the waterways at nights during a sensitisation programme organised by the Lagos Area Office of NIWA, the Baale’s of the three communities explained that their women, who trade around Mile 2 area, don’t leave for home until around 7pm.
The Baale’s which include Anthony Avime, Baale of Sagbo-Koji; Houeto Bernard, Baale of Whla-Koji and Sohome Benieni, Baale of Bishop-Koji all told the Lagos Area Manager, Engineer Sarat Braimah that women of the communities leave Mile 2 around 7pm and won’t get home until around 8pm.
Types of boats used by women living in some riverine communities in Lagos
According to the three Baale’s, “Our women are traders. They go to Mile 2 to sell and trade. The trading activities peak around 4pm when people close from work to go home.
“This peak period won’t end until around 7pm in the evening. It is after our women finish trading for the day that they start coming home; and the only way home is by water transport.”
The Baale’s then asked NIWA to help them since their occupation forces them to flout the waterways navigation laws of the Federal Government.
“What can NIWA do for us to assist us in this regard? Our women must trade to survive. Trading peak period starts around 4pm to 7pm at Mile 2. The law says waterways navigation must end by 6:30pm, but our women must come home. How do we go about this,” the Baale’s asked the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah.
Responding, the NIWA Lagos Area Manager, Engineer Sarat Braimah told the three community leaders that she will be liasing with the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) to see if there can be a dedicated boat to take the women home after daily trading activities.
In the words of Engineer Sarat Braimah, “I will see if I can discuss with LAGFERRY to know if they can dedicate a boat for your women who trade in Mile 2.
“Also, NIWA has some boats that can be used for such purposes. The problem is just that we hope the boat operators won’t see us as competing with them. As regulators, we don’t have any business in commercial boat operations. Ours is to regulate the industry. Once we dedicate a boat for your women, we hope boat operators won’t see us as competitors.
“I will try to see if we can get a boat for such purposes because most of the wooden boats that take your women back home from Mile 2 at nights lack night navigational aids.
“Such boat rides are dangerous and with what happened in Mile 2, we won’t fold our hands and allow another tragic incident on the Lagos waterways again.”
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