The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA) has described the recent boat mishaps recorded in Niger and Kebbi States which claimed over 100 lives as unfortunate.
Its Chairman, Maj-Gen. Jonathan Garba, expressed his displeasure with the incidents in a statement sent by e-mail to newsmen in Lokoja on Monday.
The statement, signed by his Personal Assistant, Mr Adakole Ejegbudu, said that the two accidents came at a time when all hands were on deck to improve safety standards in the maritime sector.
He commiserated with the people and governments of the two states, urging those who lost loved ones in the accidents to see it as act of God.
It would be recalled that the accidents occurred at different times in Munya Local Government area of Niger State and Bagudo Local Government area of Kebbi State.
According to him, the accidents and other recent events on the country’s waterways have further weaken the public confidence in marine transportation.
He said that NIMASA stood with the management of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in this period of mourning and share in its renewed resolve to make marine transportation safer.
“ For Marine transportation to be seen and utilized as a sustainable and viable mode of transportation, it must be safe.
“ This is the challenge that all stakeholders must rise up to. Preserving the sanctity of life is the responsibility of every entity and a reflex for all well meaning persons,” he said.
Garba reiterated the resolve of NIMASA to collaborate with other stakeholders to improve the efficiency and safety of transportation and for greater good of the country.
He advised NIWA to step up its sensitization and awareness programmes for stakeholders and waterways users to improve safety in the nation’s Inland Waterways.
The NIMASA chairman also appealed to the civil society organisations and well-meaning citizens to volunteer and play a role in the sensitization programme.
“Besides sensitization, there are other issues to address such education/ training of operators, utilization of safe and stable vessels, enforcement of rules and regulations and provision of relevant infrastructure and navigational aids,” he said. (NAN)