The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has confirmed that about two million people shuttle the Lagos waterways on a monthly basis.
The Managing Director, LASWA, Abisola Kamson made this disclosure at a media briefing in Lagos.
According to her, the number of people that ply the state’s waterways has grown rapidly over the years and measures are being put in place to strengthen the authority’s water guards to enforce safety rules.
Kamson also revealed that new safety rules for the growth of water transportation sector in the state is underway as various challenges are being encountered by LASWA on the waterways
She said that they are in partnership with the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA), in order to regulate various activities on the state’s waterways and ensure that it is safe.
She stated that the new guidelines would focus on the quality of boats, size of the boat, size of the engine, and general safety for commuters.
The LASWA boss said operators would be given a period to comply with the new guidelines after which government would begin strict enforcement of the guidelines, adding that LASWA would employ more water guards to enhance patrol on waterways.
She said the water guards of the authority provided statistics on daily basis on the number of passengers plying the jetties in the state, saying that many people are now used to commuting on the waterways and that the number still kept on growing.
Kamson said: “The core function of LASWA is to act as a regulatory agency for all movements on waterways. We are to provide enabling infrastructure that will promote water transport.”
She said the authority is working closely with the Marine Police in order to beef up the security and also, curb illegal access on the waterways adding that plans were underway to ensure that jetties and boat operators not licensed by the state government were not allowed to operate on the waterways.
Kamson said that there would be proper channelling of boat routes to prevent boat users from interference.
This, she said, would enable the authority monitor the number of approved vessels plying certain route, which would make for safety of the waterways.
The MD appealed to Lagos residents to desist from dumping refuse and open defecation on water as such practice could impede movement on waterways adding that efforts were underway for mechanised clearing.