Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, on Wednesday charged boat operators in the state to observe strict safety standards in their operations, to avoid sea accidents and needless loss of lives.
She gave the charge at Aiyetoro, Epe, during the distribution of over 700 life jackets to select schools in Epe Local Government, by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in partnership with Total Nigeria Limited.
Mrs. Ambode who said that safety was too important to be compromised in any human activity, urged the operators to streamline their operations according to international best practice.
According to her, “There had been unpleasant incidents of boat mishaps in the past, some involving school pupils, commuting across the lagoon to their various schools. Users of water transportation face the uncertainty of safe arrival everyday.
“These circumstances have informed the great initiative of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, and Total Nigeria Limited, in donating life jackets, for the use of some pupils, schooling around the riverine areas of Epe Local Government”.
She added that the government had continuously introduced measures to improve water transportation in the state, including the construction of modern jetties for riverine communities and enforcement of safety rules among boat operators.
Mrs. Ambode who called for strict enforcement of “No life jackets, no water travel” campaign, urged boat operators to shun overloading, night travels and boat cruising by untrained persons.
While noting that safety on water must be collectively enforced, she called on parents, teachers school managements and regulatory authorities, to step up safety advocacy among users of water transportation in Lagos State.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of LASWA, Ms Abisola Kamson, said that it was part of the resolve of the current administration to safe guard the water-ways, stressing that every child or adult embarking on water journey must make use of life jacket.
In his own address, the Executive Secretary of Epe Local Government, Hon. Ahmed Seriki, said the initiative was first of its kind in Epe community.
He urged residents to be safety conscious, while advising them to always call the toll free numbers-767 and 112 in case of an emergency.
Highlights of the programme include the presentation of life jackets to pupils of various schools and a demonstration of the administration of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to adults and children.