By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Five people have drowned in a boat mishap which occurred at Ikorodu area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Friday night.
The incident occurred around 8.00pm on Friday.
The mishap occurred after a 20-passenger capacity commercial ferry with 21 passengers on board took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty at about few minutes past 8.00pm heading towards Ikorodu, ran into an unforeseen object on the Waterways causing the boat to capsize.
The immediate rescue efforts deployed saved 16 alive, five dead with one survivor in critical condition.
Following the mishap, the State Inland Waterways Authority, (LASWA) has issued out warnings to all Ferry operators and passengers against violating the laid down rule of ‘no night travelling’ on the waterways.
The Lagos Sate Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, and the General Manager LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel who were at the Ikorodu scene of the incident this morning confirmed that 16 passengers have been rescued alive with one person in critical condition and five fatalities through the efforts of LASWA Search Party, Local Boat Operators search team, the Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).
Oladeinde, while commiserating with the families of the lost passengers of the mishap assured that the violators would be prosecuted as the unfortunate incidence was already under investigation.
He urged Ferry operators to desist from breaking the laid down safety guidelines to avoid incidents of this nature, saying that if the rule of no night travelling on the waterways from 6.00pm had been strictly adhered to by operators, the accident could have been averted
Also speaking at the scene of the incident, the General Manager LASWA, Emmanuel reiterated that henceforth any operator who violated any of the laid down safety guidelines, especially the no night travelling rule, would be arrested by the Marine Police and that the boat in use confiscated.
He urged passengers to stop waterways night journeys as any passenger found on board of such boats at night would also be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the State.