Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has donated one hundred bags of rice and three hundred bags of garri to the members of Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON). The food items presented to the association through the office of the Lagos State Waterways Authority(LASWA) was to help members of the association and their families cushion the effect of the lockdown and its impact on their business.
The association with over one thousand members scattered all over Lagos were affected by the lockdown directives, as their services were withdrawn from carrying passengers around the creeks and coastlines to avoid the spread of the infectious disease. Gani Tarzan Balogun, national president of the association who also donated cartons of sanitisers to members to support the governor’s gesture, expressed the deep appreciation of members to Governor Sanwo-olu.
Tarzan known in the maritime tourism circle as the Boatman, noted that Governor Sanwo-Olu has worked really hard to convince boat operators in the state that their welfare and service are important and appreciated since he came on board. “We believe the governor meant well and his commitment to us and visible interventions through the state transportation ministry and regulatory agency, LASWA, are part of the ongoing efforts to help ATBOWATON remain strong and relevant, and to send us these palliatives, further reinforced the love to our families affected by the lockdown,” he said. Speaking during the official distribution of the gifts in Lagos witnessed by Mr. Emmanuel Damilola, Managing Director, LASWA, Mr. Balogun assured the governor that the association would endeavour to work closely with the governmentt to grow and improve the business of water transportation in Lagos and beyond, requesting for small repayable loans for members in order to purchase water taxis to meet with best global standard and to also drive water-based recreation and visits to beaches and resorts when the lockdown is lifted. While donating cartons of sanitisers from his company, Tarzan Marine Enterprises,
Mr. Balogun said the gesture was to help the members and their clients sustain the requirements of the COVID-19 protocols, and stem the spread of the pandemic to the rural communities, mostly the frontline clients of the boat operators. Emmanuel Damilola, speaking during the occasion stated that Governor Sanwo-Olu believes that ATBOWATON members deserve the care and love of the state in times like this, considering the huge sacrifices they have made and are expected to make when the pandemic ends.