The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command has threatened to arrest all commercial boat and ferry operators as well as commuters who violate safety rules on the state waterways.
The State Commandant, Hammed Abodunrin, has deployed personnel to the coastal areas of the state in pursuant of enforcing the safety rules on the state waterways.
A statement signed by the Spokesman of the Command, Olufemi Omole (DSC) and made available to Nigerian NewsDirect on Sunday in Akure revealed that some transporters and commuters had repeatedly violated the safety rules on the waterways.
The Command declared that he would no longer tolerate the lackadaisical attitude of commercial boat and ferry transporters in the riverine areas of the state.
He revealed that the boat and ferry operators were only concerned with loading goods and passengers without recourse to their safety.
Lamenting the havoc wreaked by the violators on the waterways in the state, Dr Abodunri revealed that the previous boat mishap at Ilaje Local Government Area, which claimed the life of one passenger leaving 15 others wounded, was as a result of overspeeding and refusal to use Life Jackets.
He also cited another recent night head-on collision by a small speed boat and a bigger wooden boat between Ugbonla and Igbenefa in Ilaje during which one person died and four passengers sustained terrible injuries.
The State Commandant disclosed that he had deployed his men to Iyasan in Irele Local Government Area for rescue operations when bodies of two casualties of a boat mishap -Oki Michael and Omogbehin Adebayo- were recovered.
“It is high time our people placed a premium on the value of human life; we have warned repeatedly that no transporter or passenger should travel the waterways without putting on their Life Jackets. Henceforth, the Command Marine Special Force would be on patrol and violators be arrested,” he said.
Affirming the Command continuous collaboration with the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Igbokoda in the arrest of suspected illegal dealers in petroleum products, vandals, oil bunkers and enforcement of safety rules on waterways, Abodunri disclosed that the Command had trained some officers and men who would embark on public sensitization and awareness programmes on how to identify possible security threats and imbibe proactive safety precautions.
He, however, commiserated with the bereaved families of casualties of the mishap and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria Ondo State Chapter, emphasising refusal to wear life jackets while plying the waterways would no more be tolerated.