Tony John, Port Harcourt
The senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the Senate, Magnus Abe, has appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to activate policies that would punish those who exhibit acts of negligence to established laws.
Sen. Abe stressed that the state government must be responsive to punish those who flout laws of the state, saying press statements were not enough to correct culprits where laws are flouted.
Sen. Abe spoke, at the weekend, when he paid a condolence visit to the family of late Joe Blankson, who died in a boat mishap on Bakana River, in Degema Local Government Area.
Blankson was said to have rescued 13 people in the boat carrying over 24 passengers and had gone to save the 14th person, but could not make it.
Abe said: “I want to use this opportunity to urge the state government to brace up for challenges. I saw the statement by the Commissioner of Information. I want to ask the government to go a step further. We want to find out the reason these things happen and nobody is punished or held accountable.
“We need to know that where we do not have regulations or we fail to enforce them or where people are charged with responsibility for something and they fail to carry it out and in the process lives are lost. Those who did not obey should be held accountable for the incident.
“As we talk, many people have been murdered in our waterways. If they had life jackets, if they obeyed regulations that govern our waterways, all these deaths would not be recorded.
“We must go beyond issuing press statements to taking practical steps to punish offenders.
“In our area, nobody cares about enforcing the law that people should not enter the boats without live jackets. When we heard of the story of how he, Joe, made efforts to save others, it touched my heart”, the lawmaker expressed.
Responding on behalf of the family, Dr. Mimi Thom-Manuel, expressed worried that travellers on some waterways in the state, do not take use of life jacket seriously.
He called on state government to make policy that would monitor boat operators, who do not obey the regulation and sanction them.