The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) have inaugurated a boat jetty at Gbaji Yeke, Badagry West Local Government of Lagos State to ease movement.
Mr Gani Balogun, the President of ATBOWATON, said that the initiative was to facilitate ease of movement and safety of growing members of boat operators and water users in the area.
He commended initiatives of the Gbaji Yeke jetty facilitator, Mr Joseph Phillip, for putting up the facility, constructed in line with extant safety regulations of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He reiterated that under his watch as ATBOWATON president, more of such water transportation facilities would be provided by prominent members across the state.
He pointed out that it was to help rural littoral communities to commute to and from other communities, and the city centres, thereby, driving development, speedy growth of the rural areas and creating jobs.
“As much as we appreciate the support given to us to manage some jetties in Lagos by NIWA and Lagos State government, we are not unrelenting to provide more jetties to most unreached communities as veritable partners to national and states water transportation development agenda.
“Though it is an expensive venture, ATBOWATON believes that it is part of our mandate to help unlock and link the treasures in most remote communities in Lagos and help drive rural development and create jobs,” he said.
Balogun also praised the dedication and sacrifice of the Badagry chapter Chairman of ATBOWATON, Mr Tope Fajemirokun, for making the area new bride of water transportation in the state.
He added that the Gbaji Yeke jetty would help to solve the demand for additional jetty facilities in and around the strategic intra water transportation ecology between Badagry West local government, Ogun and Porto Novo.
Mr Shehu Shuaibu, who represented the NIWA Lagos Area Manager, Mrs Sarat Braimah, commended ATBOWATON and the Gbaji Yeke jetty facilitator for the construction of the entire important jetty.
Shuaibu warned that it must not be used for illegal activities such as smuggling or to aid anti developmental activities.
He further said that NIWA’s area office in Lagos would mount surveillance on the use of the jetty as he warned boat operators to strictly adhere to the use of the orange colour life jacket sanctioned by International Maritime Organisation.
“NIWA Lagos will begin massive enforcement from the month of May.
“NIWA has noticed the growing trend of various colours of life jackets in use by boat operators and hereby sent notice that it will no longer be business as usual as we shall begin enforcement from next month to enable ATBOWATON members comply,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Phillip said that the Gbaji Yeke jetty initiative was primarily to help open up the community which was at the heart and centre of Badagry West local government for development and to create jobs for the young and old.
He added that his boat operation known as “Only God”, needed a jetty hub in the area to effectively provide water transportation services to its growing clients and for other boat operators under ATBOWATON leadership.