Transport Commissioners Decry Recurring Boat Mishaps in Nigerian Communities
Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Nigerian Transportation Commissioners Forum (NTCF) has expressed grief over the reoccurring incidents of boat accidents in some parts of the country, thereby calling for urgent synergy and collaboration amongst stakeholders to arrest the situation.
The forum, which described the incidents as unfortunate, called for urgent need to tackle the menace to ensure the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians.
The Executive Secretary, NTCF, Chinwe Uwaegbute, made the call while briefing the press on Tuesday in Abuja.
While sympathising with families of victims involved in the accidents, the NTCF secretary said the forum would however collaborate with relevant stakeholders and agencies to contribute its quota for the good of all.
A boat carrying about 85 people had reportedly capsized near a bridge in Ogbaru, a community in Anambra State, with no fewer than nine people were rescued, while many occupants of the boat have not been accounted for.
The boat had capsized following rising floods in Ogbaru area of the state, with emergency bodies confirming a death toll of 76.
Speaking further, she hinted that the recent boat accident in Ogbaru, Anambra State, is an unfortunate situation that could have been averted if laid down rules and regulations were strictly adhered to.
She said: “You will discover that a boat that is designed to carry 11 passengers for instance is made to take up to 27 passengers, thereby over loading the boats’ capacity.
”The Forum sympathises with Governor Charles Soludo and his state Commissioner for Transportation, Patricia Igwebuike, on this recent mishaps.”
According to her, the forum will collaborate with the state government to ensure that water and safety regulations and policies are adhered to and also educate actors within the water transportation sector in the state.
The forum, Uwaegbute stressed, is therefore appealing for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to cushion the impact of the challenges faced by victims on this mishap.
“We seize this opportunity to also felicitate with residents and government of states affected by the recent flooding in the country. We wish to sympathise with the Governors of Kogi, Delta, Anambra, Nasarawa, Edo, Bauchi and Gombe, Yobe and Adamawa States, among other states and their various commissioners on the flooding incidents,” she said.
Uwaegbute while commending the efforts of the federal and state governments’ emergency agencies and other relevant stalkholders, added that the unfortunate incident has resulted in untold suffering and hardship for many Nigerians directly and indirectly.
She, however, called for more collaboration and support of Nigerians to care for victims of the incident.