The General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, says efforts of the body has so far prevented several boat mishaps from happening on the state waterways and more will be done to ensure best safety.

Emmanuel spoke in Lagos recently against the backdrop of a recent boat mishap, which claimed more than 10 lives.

The GM blamed the mishap in the Kirikiri area of the state on disregard of the boat operator for rules and regulations, saying that the authority had not failed in its mandate to regulate and enforce rules.

According to him, the LASWA, in collaboration with other relevant agencies, was able to record zero mishap on waterways in the first six months of 2020.

“Through our reforms and operations, we have been able to prevent several mishaps on our waterways. In fact, between January and June, we recorded zero accidents on waterways.

We will not let down our guard. In this year, we have positioned water guards at state-owned jetties for enforcement of regulations and enhancement of safety on waterways.

LASWA Enforcement Team has been monitoring and patrolling waterways. LASWA has also carried out several awareness, enlightenment and sensitisation on emergency and safety both in the media and at jetties,” Emmanuel said.

He added that the authority had also partnered with the Lagos State Safety Commission and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency to enhance safety and emergency operations.

The LASWA boss insisted that the authority had donated thousands of life jackets, cleared and recycled water hyacinths, and engaged in bi-annual and random spot inspection on boats to enhance safety.

“We are partnering with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), and Food and Beverages Recycling Alliance (FBRA), toward clean-up of plastic wastes on waterways in our efforts to guarantee safety.

We have also, in this year, installed navigational buoys along the Five-Cowry Creek as well as safety and directional signages.

We have a plan for recruitment of more water guards and for capacity building of the existing ones. We want to install navigational buoys to other water routes. Our plan also is to deploy volunteers from safety commission to jetties and landings without LASWA oversight,” he added.

Emmanuel said that the authority planned to upgrade the emergency and rescue system in three divisions of the state, while also establishing water monitoring and data centres, adding that the State Government would soon purchase 15 more standard patrol boats and install safety and directional signages to other locations on waterways.