Home Metro Boat accidents: NIWA insists on night travel ban

Boat accidents: NIWA insists on night travel ban

by Admin

By  Godfrey George

The National Inland Waterways Authority has stressed that its ban on night travels for boats on Nigeria’s waterways remains.

It noted that more than 95 per cent of boat accidents occur at night, adding that it would prosecute any boat operator who flouts the directive.

Saturday PUNCH had reported that over 3,133 persons had been killed in boat accidents between January 2013 and June 2023.

The latest was the death of over 106 persons in Pategi, Kwara State; 10 persons in Mbo, Akwa Ibom State, and three medical students in Calabar, Cross River State.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Malam Jibril Darda’u, in an interview with our correspondent, noted that no boat should be seen operating on the waterways between the 6pm and 6am.

This, according to him, is because African vessels do not have night navigational aids, which are used in developed countries.

“Any operator who flouts the order will meet with our disciplinary committee,” Darda’u stated.

He also disclosed that the helmsman of the ill-fated vessel in which three medical students drowned in Calabar had been arrested, his vessel impounded, adding that he had also been charged.

He stated, “For the recent one in Calabar, we have arrested the operator, because he was fully registered with us. We don’t certify any boat to operate on our waters without safety guidelines and requirements.

“We have arrested him because he was supposed to have two engines in the boat, but he only had one. So, when the engine failed, he had no option but to remain on the water, waiting for the boat to capsize.

“If he had followed the regulation, this would not have happened. It was his recklessness that killed those medical students. It is very painful because they were final-year students, whose parents were set to rejoice because they were done with school. To us, he killed them. We have charged him to court to serve as a deterrent to others.”

He also stated that some locals make it hard for the implementation of safety measures put in place by the agency.

“Most locals always tell us that they are like fishes and do not need life jackets and other safety gadgets, thereby flouting our safety rules. But, we will keep on sensitising them to the dangers of disobeying these rules, including overloading of the vessels and night travels,” Darda’u added.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment