Kwara State government, on Wednesday, announced plans for a legislation that will impose punishments and fines for violations of safety protocols on water travels in the state.
The proposed legislation will be sent to the parliament, according to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq during a condolence visit to the families of victims of last Monday’s boat accident disaster which claimed about 106 lives.
The victims, including 144 survivors, are mostly from Patigi communities, according to local authorities and the state police command.
Accompanied by Senator Sadiq Umar (Kwara North), House of Assembly member for Patigi State Constituency, Hon. Muhammad Kareem, and Hon. Ahmed Adam Rufai, AbdulRazaq first headed to the palace of the Etsu Patigi who then joined the Governor to visit the riverine communities affected in the accident.
“It is a sad event. We commiserate with our people in Patigi Emirate, including the Etsu Patigi Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi II.
“We are deeply saddened by the event,” AbdulRazaq told reporters on the sideline of his visit to Kpada and Duro, the headquarters of Ebu and Dzakan settlements whose residents died in the incident.
“Measures will be taken as we are having discussions with Nigeria Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) on enforcement of safety codes. We will also be sending a team to Lagos State on how their waterways law works.
“Our immediate step is to deliver at least 1000 life jackets to support safe travels on water in the area.
“In addition to whatever safety measures that are in place, the government will design and roll out some statewide standard operating procedures (SOPs) for water travels to cover issues of boat serviceability, speed limits, loading limits and wearing of life jackets by all passengers. This will be the new irreducible minimum,” he added.
The government will also send to the parliament a proposed legislation that imposes punishments and fines for violations of the safety protocol, AbdulRazaq added.
“The government will also set up a body that oversees water transportation in the state.
“This body will complement the regulatory oversight of the National Inland Water Authority (NIWA) which has the statutory responsibility to enforce safety codes on jetties, loading points, boats, canoes, barges, life vests, among others,” he said.