BY MAIRIGA Juliana, Minna
Irked by the reoccurrence of boat mishap and the high attendant causality rate, Niger State government is to establish inland waterways transport agency to regulate the operation of the sector for safety and efficiency.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed this when he paid a condolence visits to the families of last Sunday morning boat mishap on River Zumba, in Shiroro local government area of the state.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Mikail Al-amin Bmitosahi, the governor said the state Ministry of Justice has been directed to perfect the legal frame work for the setting up of the agency, with a view to regulating the activities of boat operators within the inland waterways of the state.
The governor while commiserating with the families of the victims of the boat mishap expressed concern over the inability of boat operators in all the inland waterways of the state to abide by the best marine transportation practices.
He blamed last Sunday accident on the failure of the boat operator to provide protective jackets for the passengers, stressing that “the government will make sure that no boat operator carry passengers without protective jackets when agency becomes operational.
“The state has witnessed too many boat mishaps. The government will soon come up with an agency that will regulate and monitor the activities of marine transport operators, so as to prevent some of these avoidable accidents on our water ways,” the governor stated
He also unveiled plans by the government to procure protective jackets and give to boat operators at subsidized rates, pointing out that “when that is done, no operator will be allowed to carry passengers without protective jackets”.
The governor then consoled the families of the bereaved and prayed for the repose of the lost souls. “It was an unfortunate incident. Allah knows the best. It is my prayer that Allah will grant the deceased Aljana Fridausi.
The Chief of Staff was accompanied by some top government functionaries including the Director General of Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Ahmed Inga.
It would be recalled that the boat carrying 30 people, five cows, six sheep, eight bags of maize, four bags of rice and some other food items capsized on the river after it broke into two, 30 minutes into the two hours journey to Zumba market.