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Lagos warns against breaking waterways safety rules

The Lagos State government has warned against overloading boats, adding that passengers must always wear life jackets while traveling on waterways in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, gave the warning on Sunday in an interview with The PUNCH against the backdrop of the disclosure by the police that seven drowning incidents were recorded in the state in the last one week.

According to the state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, the incidents occurred at hotel swimming pools, a beach, and the Third Mainland Bridge.

Reflecting on these incidents, Omotosho remarked, “I think what we have to look at is the human element. The law says that if anybody wants to go on the waterways, he must wear a life jacket, why will people not wear life jackets?

”The law says by 7 pm boats should not run, why should people go and run the boat after 7 pm? The government has provided a command and control centre where they can see what is going on on the waterways so that if there is any accident or anything unusual, officials can quickly move to the scene. The government has made laws to ensure safety on waterways.”

The commissioner said the government had continued to invest in waterways safety.

He said, “When Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assumed office, there were only about seven ferries, but today, we have 21, including a batch that can carry almost 200 people where you can have a party on water if you want to.

“The government is investing a lot in personnel and equipment to attract people to waterways. It is also carrying out advocacy, telling people it’s safer and faster because there is no traffic jam on the waterway and telling them they will be comfortable.

“One of the benefits the government is introducing is ensuring that passengers can have free Internet on the vessels.

“So all of us those accidents you’re talking about, 99 per cent of them happened to private boats and because of the human element.”

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