The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Sen Olorunibe Mamora, on Tuesday escaped death on Lagos inland waterways by whisker.
It was gathered that the MD who was on the tour of the facilities of the authority in the Lagos area office had the boat he was traveling on hit an abandoned wreck that was hidden under the brown water.
Also on the entourage of the MD was the Area Manager, Lagos Office of NIWA, Muazu Sambo, the one time acting Managing Director, NIWA, Barr Danladi Ibrahim, Journalists, and several others who joined the MD in the tour of facilities of the authority.
According to an eye witness, the incident occurred shortly, after inspecting the NIWA CMS office facility, Apapa, Ijora, Oyingbo jetties and heading towards Osborne foreshore to also inspect Texas connection ferries.
After inspecting Texas connection ferries, the NIWA team called for a change boat to continue with the facility tour of other jetties across the state, as NIWA’s staff described the situation as a close encounter with the mercy of God.
However, confirming the near mishap, the Personal Assistant to the MD, Technical Services, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori said the wreck was an underwater wreck that was under the water.
He said that the present management of the authority is seriously concerned about safety and security in the nation’s inland waterways.
He said, “Safety and security of inland waterways is the priority of the present management of NIWA. it is not only issue of wrecks removal, we will remove wrecks and causes of wrecks and that is what we will be looking at fundamentally. So, to prevent boat mishap on the inland waterways and to be sure that when wrecks are removed they are not dumped into another place where it will become another hazard.
Ilori who is the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Shipowners Association said the authority would also survey under the water and place danger signs on the area where there are wrecks.
“What we are looking at is to survey the wrecks. It is not only wrecks that we see on the surface alone because we also have wrecks under the water and these are underwater issues that is why we say when people remove wrecks, we want to understand how they will dispose of the wrecks and it won’t cause another hazard elsewhere.”
“Don’t forget that the boat the MD was was passing on the water and it went over the wreck. The primary thing is to survey the water and identified whatever it is and even if can’t be removed, we ask boat operators to avoid the area because of wrecks. Wrecks removal is not the immediate solution but to identify where the wrecks are and begins to remove them and know how to dispose. Also, identify where the wrecks are and mark them so that people are aware of where danger lies and avoid it.”