By Innocent Orok
After weeks of complains by users of waterways transportation to the Ikorodu area of Lagos State due to the dangers posed by water hyacinth, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has suspended boat operations to the area.
The suspension order was contained in a press statement issued by the Lagos Area office of the agency. The statement reads:
” In the aftermath of strange rebounds of Water Hyacinth, which impacted the Ikorodu water corridors, the Lagos Area Office of National Inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA) has suspended all boat operations to the Ikorodu ferry terminal.
“The Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority, Engineer ( Dr) Sarat Lara Braimah ordered an immediate suspension of boat operations to and from the Ikorodu ferry terminal to avoid possible breakdown of boat engines and to avoid boat mishaps.
“In the alternative, and pending when a navigable passage access can be created through the strange weeds, which have defied NIWA frantic efforts to check its menace, Engineer Sarat Braimah directed all registered boat operators to relocate all operational activities to Majidun until a navigable and safe passage way is found and approved by NIWA.
“To effectively oversight this directive, the Ikorodu Chapter Chairman of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria ( ATBOWATON), Mr Mojofodun Olusoji has been mandated by NIWA to ensure all operators in the Ikorodu area comply with the directive until a safe navigable corridor is created by agency”, the statement said.
Also, NIWA has detailed its Marine Safety Corp and its Police Command to condone off the impacted areas in Ikorodu by the surging water Hyacinth.
” We are not taking chances at all with this water Hyacinth, which presented an unusual stubborn resistance and rebound despite our sustained efforts to check its menace,” the NIWA Area Manager explained .
She added that the movement of boats in and out of Ikorodu terminal have been laborious over time, forcibly impacting boat engines and causing delays and boats turn around ecosystem in the corridor, sometimes leading to panicking by passengers.
” We are concerned about the safety of both operators and passengers, hence the directive to relocate all operational activities to Majidun and to suspend activities to Ikorodu terminal until we can create a safe navigable corridor” Engineer Sarat Braimah further explained.