Boat operators under the aegis of the Association of Tourism Boats Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) have asked the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government (LASG) to upgrade the infrastructures along the Lagos State inland waterways while also improving the security of the waterways.
Addressing newsmen, on Wednesday, in Badagry during a tour of the Badagry-CMS inland waterways, the Chairman of ATBOWATON, Badagry Zone, Mr. Babatope Fajemirokun, lamented that most of the waterways from CMS to Badagry are not well dredged while there is no standard jetty between the route for waterways users.
Açording to Mr. Fajemirokun who also double as the Managing Director/Ceo of Simtop Ventures, “In some areas, If you look at the types of boats that some of our members are using, to me, they are not too safe. As an investor, we need a government presence in Badagry. We want the government to come and help us dredge the waterways. We need a standard jetty in Badagry.
“In the area of security and safety, we want the government to come and collaborate with boat operators in Badagry.
“Commercial ferry operation started in Badagry about eight years ago. Then, it was just one boat that leaves Badagry for CMS with just five passengers. For almost two months, we were doing a ferry operation with just one boat. Four years after, the boats increased to 45 boats. As at today, from Badagry to CMS, over 100 boats ferry passengers across the waterways.
“These boats stop at various jetties at Abule-Oshun, Ijegun, Kirikiri, Coconut, Liverpool, Ebute-Ero, and up to Makoko. Coming back, we have Epe, Whispering Palms, Ajido, Kerekumo, Topo, Marina, Gao, Apa, Gaji, and up to Port Novo in the Benin Republic. So, you see that traffic has increased tremendously. In a day, we ferry over five thousand passengers. That is why we need government at all levels to come and assist our operations in the area of infrastructure upgrade, dredging, and security.”
On efforts by the group to seek assistance elsewhere, the ATBOWATON Badagry Zone Chairman explained that they have written to some commercial banks, and have received favourable responses from some.
In his words, “We have written to some banks for support. Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Jaiz Bank, and Bank of the North have shown interest in assisting us in improving some of our infrastructures. On our own, we have carried out the soil testing of the route.”
In the area of boat mishaps, Mr. Fajemirokun stated that the number of boat accidents has reduced compared.to two years ago.
“Two years ago, we had a lot of boat mishaps. Due to these incidents, we (boat operators) came together and formed a Task Force which comprises of all the Jetty Chairmen and their Secretaries along the Badagry to CMS route. We enforced a ban on night sailing and overloading which were a major reason for the rise in boat mishaps. Those that were caught were heavily penalised, and this has led to a reduction in boat mishaps along Badagry-CMS waterways,” the Simtop Ventures Boss added.
Nigeria may be close to flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic as confirmed cases in the country keep dropping weekly, Tribune Online analysis has shown. This is even as the much-expected COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory last Tuesday…Boat operators urge FG, LASG to upgrade waterways infrastructure, security.
Credit: Tribute Online