By Osa Mbonu-Amadi
President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria, ATBOWATON, Mr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, commissioned a boat jetty at Gbaji Yeke, Badagry West Local Government Area of Lagos State for the ease and safety of growing members of boat operators and water users in the area.
Speaking at the well-attended jetty commissioning project witnessed by all ATBOWATON Lagos State Zonal chairmen and members, Mr. Gani Tarzan Balogun praised the initiatives of the Gbaji Yeke jetty facilitator, Engineer Joseph Phillip, for putting up the facility constructed in line with extant safety regulations of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
Mr. Balogun reiterated that under his watch as ATBOWATON President, more of such water transportation facilities will be provided by prominent ATBOWATON members across the state to help rural littoral communities to commute to and from other communities, and the city centers, thereby driving development, speedy growth of the rural areas and creating jobs.
“As much we appreciate the support given to us to manage some jetties in Lagos by NIWA and Lagos State government, we are not unrelenting in our support to provide more jetties to most unreached communities in the state as veritable partners to national and states water transportation development agenda. Although it’s 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.”
Mr. Balogun also praised the dedication and sacrifice of the Badagry Chapter Chairman of ATBOWATON, Mr. Tope Fajemirokun, for making Badagry the new bride of water transportation in Lagos State, adding that Gbaji Yeke jetty will help to solve the demand for additional jetty facilities in and around the very strategic intra water transportation ecology between Badagry West local government, Ogun state and Porto Novo.
Engineer Shehu Shuaibu, who stood in for NIWA Lagos Area Manager, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah, commended ATBOWATON and the Gbaji Yeke jetty facilitator, Engineer Joseph Phillip, for the construction of all the important jetty, but warned that it must not be used for illegal activities such as smuggling or to aid anti developmental activities.
Engineer Shuaibu further stated that the NIWA Area Office in Lagos will mount surveillance on the use of the jetty and others like it, warning boat operators to strictly adhere to the use of the orange-colored life jackets approved by International Maritime Organization, IMO. He also noted that NIWA Lagos will begin massive enforcement from the month of May.
“NIWA has noticed the growing trend of various colors of life jackets in use by boat operators and hereby send notice that it will no longer be business as usual as we shall begin enforcement from next month to enable ATBOWATON members to comply,” Shuaibu stressed.
Earlier in his very brief welcome address, Engineer Joseph Phillip explained that the Gbaji Yeke jetty initiative was primarily to help open up the community which is at the heart and center of Badagry West Local Government for development and to create jobs for both the young and old, adding that his boat operation known as “Only God” needs a jetty hub in the area to effectively provide water transportation services to its growing clients and for other boat operators under ATBOWATON leadership.
The hallmark of the event which later assumed a carnival like atmosphere with the arrival of most ATBOWATON friends, Stakeholders and well-wishers is the presentation of ATBOWATON operational license and billboard to Engineer Joseph Phillip and his “Only God” boat services to operate and exclusively supervise the Gbaji Yeke jetty.