Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has bemoaned Monday’s boat accident in Kwara State that claimed more than 100 lives.
Describing the mishap as sad and unfortunate, Governor Diri commiserated with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the state government, the families of the victims and the people of Kwara State.
The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, on Wednesday, said the tragedy was a sad reminder of similar incidents in the riverine areas, particularly in Bayelsa and other coastal states in the country.
Diri said such incidents resulting in deaths would be minimised if the Federal Government, which is in charge of the waterways, took concrete steps to prioritise safety on the country’s rivers.
He urged the Federal Government to come up with a holistic safety policy that covers not only the air and roads but also the waterways.
He contended that if that is done, operators of river transportation in the country would be compelled to comply with such measures.
Diri further stated that a situation where operators ignore safety rules to overload their boats had led to avoidable loss of lives.
“The boat accident that claimed over 100 lives in Kwara State is really tragic.
“On behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State, I express our condolences to my brother-governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and people of the state.
“I also commiserate with the families of the victims of the tragedy.
“This incident is a sad reminder of what we face in Bayelsa, other coastal states of the Niger Delta and in similar riverine areas in other parts of the country.
“The Federal Government, which controls our waterways, needs to put in place a holistic transportation policy that also ensures safety of passengers on our rivers.
“Lives are being lost due to lack of measures to guarantee safety on waterways. The focus had been on road infrastructure and air transportation. The waterways are equally important as an alternative means of transportation.”