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Nigeria Records Over 100 Waterways Fatalities in Five Months

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By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

No fewer than 100 passengers have died during the course of using waterways as means of transportation across the country between May and September 2021.

This, together with reports of over 300 waterways fatalities in 2020, and other recent unfortunate accidents have caused lawmakers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly to raise concerns.

At the plenary on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, presided over by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the House of Representatives urged the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies to enforce safety regulations in all waterways in Nigeria.

The green chamber also mandated its Committees on Inland Waterways and Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation of the resolution and report back.

This was a sequel to the adoption of a motion on the Need to Enforce Safety Regulations in the Nigerian Waterways submitted by Mr Hamisu Ibrahim.

According to the lawmaker, “Boat accidents in the Nigerian waterways are caused by overloading, lack of maintenance, overspeeding, careless driving and bad weather.”

He also recalled the mishap that occurred in Lagos on September 27, 2021, with one person confirmed dead after a boat capsized due to an overloaded boat carrying more than 160 passengers. Another boat broke into two and sank in River Niger on May 26, 2021, leading to the death of 100 people.

“[I am] disturbed that the incessant boat mishaps occurring within the country’s waterways are as a result of the violation of boating laws and regulations by operators who board an excessive number of passengers in their quest to boost income,” the lawmaker said.

He pointed out that “boat accidents can be curtailed by public sensitization campaigns, better enforcement of Rules by regulatory agencies, constant checks on boats, and removal of pollutants in the water.”

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