Officers and men of the Marine Unit of the Nigeria Police have decried high rate of corpses recovered on the Lagos waterways due to unrecorded boat accidents.
The officers said this while stressing the need for the boat operators to have means of identification of their boats as many boats ply the waterways without proper registration.
A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ufuomanefe Akusu, from the Marine command disclosed this at an event tagged “The role of water transportation in the development of an integrated system in Lagos, organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA ).
Akusu said, “The waterways have been experiencing turbulence in many ways and on a daily basis we recover over ten to twenty corpses, not within the Lagos waterways alone but also in other parts of the inland waterways.”
The DSP added that in the last two days over 18 passengers were rescued between Ikoyi bridge and Breakwaters pointing out that the police had been swift to respond to distress calls within the waterways.
According to him, there has been incessant occurrences of boat mishaps on the the brown waters, which must be addressed by the relevant agencies of government adding that the situation needed urgent attention.
Speaking on the current security challenges on the waterways, the Police official called on relevant authorities to issue plate numbers to boat operators and other users, which would serve as a means to monitor their routes.
He noted that kidnappers on the waterways don’t have plate numbers and there is need for the authority to license the boats with numbers for effective and efficient monitoring by the police at sea.
Akusu stated that the Lagos State government has been supportive in procuring speed boats to boost the force operations at sea, calling on other government agencies to assist the force with more patrol boats.
He assured that with the existing platform in place, the Marine command would be able to respond promptly to distress calls on the waterways.
Speaking earlier, Managing Director of LASWA, Mr. Emmanuel Oluwadamilola, reiterated that the agency’s commitment to safety regulation on the waterways saying the event was organized to get feedback and suggestions from the operators.
“The LASWA as the inland waterways regulator for Lagos State continued this role of ensuring safety and various interventions on the waterways despite its not been able to generate substantial revenue due to court injunction ”
“Let me emphasize that we want an inclusive waterways where current operators will raise their standards and new entrants will maintain the established standards “he said.