Flooding: NIWA, LASWA task boat operators, users on safety
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have cautioned boat operators and users to abide by the rules of engagement and observe all safety and security measures on waterways.
This follows the increasing water level and tides of inland waterways in Lagos with the various alerts on the intensity of flooding to be caused by heavy rainfall and the release of water from Oyan Dam in the state by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).
The Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Sarat Braimah, noted that the agency is aware of the high water tides and incidence of floods ravaging littoral communities around the country.
She reiterated the importance of safety and welfare of passengers on water crafts, adding that the impact of climate change is here in Nigeria and can be seen through the lens of devastating floods, which have breached the socioeconomic and environmental lifelines of most states in the country, rendered people homeless and destroyed farmlands and livestock.
Braimah further assured that NIWA would deploy its task force, backed by ambulance services round the clock, with proactive management of water hyacinth, which is also moved upstream to the waterways, posing a challenge to boat operations.
She further enjoined boat operators and ferry service providers to stick to extant rules of engagement.
She specifically warned boat users against boarding boats without life jackets and other sundry activities unbecoming of boating rules, adding that all stakeholders must show commitment to passengers’ safety, including that of other waterway users.
“We are aware that there is a global climate change, which is greatly affecting the tides of the waterways. The Yuletide season is close by and people make use of the waterways more. We have increased our sensitisation. We are doing safety awareness campaigns at every jetty in Lagos State.
“We have written to request that water hyacinth be cleared and checked. We have also taken note of the possible challenges of having floods pushing out logs and wrecks from the creeks into the waterways and we believe our ongoing wreck removal efforts will address the problem. NIWA Lagos will partner with stakeholders to ensure any expected weather-related challenge on the waterway is addressed to the benefit of Lagos waterway users,” Braimah noted.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, LASWA, Damilola Emmanuel, noted that though flooding and increase in water level of some coastal areas in the state are under the purview of the Ministry of Environment, the agency is taking proactive steps on safety and security of lives and properties along the waterways.
Emmanuel noted that LASWA has set up structures for effective monitoring of the increasing tides of Lagos inland waters.
He added that the agency is also working on making sure the waterways are easily navigable for boat operators and users for effective water transportation.