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Five persons have lost their lives in Lagos State, following a boat accident that occurred at about 8.00 pm on Friday along the Ikorodu Channel of the Lagos State Waterways.
The State Inland Waterways Authority, (LASWA) gave the update on Saturday afternoon as four fatalities had earlier been reported.
The agency issued a warning to all Ferry Operators and passengers against violating the laid down rule of ‘No Night travelling’ on the waterways.
According to LASWA, the incident which could have been avoided, occurred after a 20 passenger capacity commercial ferry carried 21 passengers and took off illegally from Èbúté ?r? Jetty at about few minutes past 8.00 pm and headed towards Ikorodu.
The ferry then ran into an unforeseen object on the waterways,causing the boat to capsize.
While rescue efforts were said to have commenced immediately, only 16 were saved while five others died and one is still in a critical condition.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, and the General Manager LASWA, Mr Damilola Emmanuel, who were at the scene of the incident on Saturday morning confirmed this.
The Commissioner for Transportation while commiserating with the families of the deceased, assured them that the violators of the law will be prosecuted as the unfortunate incident is already under investigation.
Oladeinde urged Ferry Operators to desist from breaking the laid down safety guidelines to avoid incidents of this nature, he opined 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, Mr Damilola Emmanuel reiterated that henceforth any operator who violates any of safety guidelines especially the ‘no night travelling’ rule, would be arrested by the Marine Police and the boat in use would be confiscated.
He urged passengers to stop late night journeys on the waterways, as any passenger found on board such boats will also be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the state.