Navigational signs fitted along waterways in Lagos State for safe operation of ferries have all been stolen, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said.
Fashola made the revelation at an occasion to flag-off distribution of life jackets to commercial ferry operators in Ebute, Ojo, Lagos State. Fashola who said the state has completed dredging of waterways said navigational signs(warning buoys and markers) which were mounted on the waterways to guide boat operators have been stolen.
” I was just been briefed this morning that the navigational signs been stolen . If government provides facilities to aid and assist our lives and safety and some unscrupulous people remove them it. That means community leaders owe us responsibility to be vigilant. Those who do that are saboteurs and must be exposed” , the governor said.
He explained that ordinarily life jackets out to be the responsibility of boat operators to procure and provide as part of their services but that government is taking the lead to provide them free.
“We will do so gradually across all the water points of Lagos. I like to appeal to all passengers whether on locally made canoes, motor boats or the more sophisticated ferries that now ply our waterways must insist that the boat operators must provide them life jackets because we are going to issue those life vests and all the operators must also insist that every passenger on their boat must wear that life vest or disembark the passenger . This is all about safety”.
The governor who also inspected on-going Lagos HOMS project in Agara , Badagry, the Agric – Yes model in the same axis among other state government projects argued that since accidents happens unannounced, the life jackets and officers of Lagos Water Guards Corps will ensure safety of the passengers.
” We are now ferrying about 1.6 million passengers on the Lagos waterways monthly. ” Very soon we will complete the concession of other water terminals in the state and we expect to see increased passengers using the Lagos waterways.
Earlier, the state commissioner for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa said the provision of the 2000 life jackets was the first phase of the 10, 000 life jackets earmarked for distribution.
He said the state government in addition has continued to carry out massive awareness campaign on water transportation safety in the state.