Moshood Adebayo, Lagos
The Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) has warned all ferry operators and passengers in the state against night journeys.
The warning came on the heels of a boat mishap last around 8:00 pm along the Ikorodu channel of the state, leaving five dead.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, who spoke while paying a condolence visit to the scene at Ikorodu today, added that the “No night travelling” on the waterways directive is still in place.
Lamenting the incident which he described as unfortunate, the commissioner explained that the accident would have been avoidable had the operators followed the state government’s directive against night journeys and 60% loading capacity.
Accompanied by LASWA General Manager Mr Damilola Emmanuel, the commissioner stated further that the 20-passengers ill-fated boat, apart from taking off illegally around 8 pm at Ebute Ero Jetty, was also overloaded as 21 passengers were on board when the accident occurred.
‘The avoidable boat mishap occurred after a 20 passengers capacity commercial ferry with 21 passengers on board took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty at about few minutes past 8:00 pm heading towards Ikorodu, ran into an unknown object on the Waterways causing the boat to capsize,’ Oladeinde said.
According to him, 16 passengers were rescued alive while 5 persons were confirmed dead with one survivor following immediate rescue efforts deployed by the authority after the news of the accident was broken.
‘It is regrettable to confirm that there are 5 casualties from this mishap, also 16 passengers have been rescued alive with one person in critical condition through the efforts of LASWA Search Party, Local Boat Operators search team, the Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).’
The commissioner, while commiserating with the families of the deceased passengers, assured that necessary action would be taken to ensure that thorough investigation is carried out.