Government Moves To Curb Boat Accidents
The Chairman, Board of Directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maj Gen India Garba (rtd),has expressed government concerns over the current increase of boat mishaps with attendant loss of lives and property across the country.
Gen Garba said this mishap often occurs during the raining season, while calling for an active collaboration between NIMASA and other relevant agencies of government including National Waterways Authority (NIWA) Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to checkmate the tragic incidence.
He said NIMASA is doing everything possible to come up with innovative measures to reduce boat accidents in the country. The agency has already set up maritime safety volunteers (Search and Rescue Team) who are to be deployed to jetties to assist in ensuring that safety standards are adhered to by boat operators and to also help in providing relief in times of crisis in the waterways.
Gen Garba however insist that in spite of this intervention, NIMASA cannot do it alone considering the vast number of rivers and waterways that boats traverse in this country hence the need for collaboration with relevant agencies of government.
In a statement issued in Abuja, which was made available to Naija News, the NIMASA Chairman identified overloading and improper kitting of passengers for water journeys as the main factors responsible for the various boat mishaps in the country.
He disclosed that plans are underway to deploy officials and security agents to various jetties to ensure strict compliance to safety standard of boat operations in our waterways.
“In most cases, it is our recklessness and refusal to stick to safety instructions that lead to these mishaps. Jetty operators must comply with safety standards; they must ensure that appropriate number of passengers are seated in a boat and that they are appropriately kitted with life jackets before embarking on journeys in the waterways”.
“It is disturbing that these tragedies keep recurring; NIMASA intends to collaborate with relevant agencies in order to reduce and checkmate these ugly incidences across the country”, he stressed, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari is quite saddened at the sequence of these catastrophic accidents that have claimed a number of lives in the recent past.
He expressed regrets over the deaths and prayed that the rest in peace and God grants their loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss, while assuring Nigerians that all hands are on deck to ensure that the rate of accidents on the waterways reduces.
In the past one week alone, boat accidents have claimed the lives of 21 passengers in Sokoto state while in Rivers state, a courageous patriot, Mr Berepele Blankson, lost his life after rescuing 13 out of 14 passengers in a boat accident.
Equally horrific was the death of 9 Youth Corp members who drowned in a river in Taraba state following boat mishap, a forth night ago.
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