The management and staff of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has released its preliminary investigations report over the Ilashe boat mishap, even as it has commiserated with the Onilase of Ilashe, the Lagosians and the good people of Ilashe Community, particularly the families of those who lost their loved ones in the boat mishap of Sunday, 20th August, 2017.
Preliminary investigations by the Lagos Area Office revealed that sixteen (16) persons including the young and old boarded the private boat from the Ilashe Community Jetty to cross to the other side of the Badagry Creek on their way to Church. As at the time of this press release, there were five (5) survivors, nine (9) fatalities and one (1) person unaccounted for.
The incident occurred at around 11.30am and the Authority had since despatched a high-powered delegation to commiserate with the Oba of Ilashe and the families of the affected persons in addition to the engagement of its Search-and-Rescue team. We pray that the Almighty God shall give them all the strength to bear the painful losses.
The Authority would like to seize this opportunity to renew its calls on all water users on the critical importance of wearing life jackets on board all boats no matter how short the distance may be and whether or not a person can swim. Life jackets are mandatory on board at all times.
The Authority has noted the blatant lies and propaganda sponsored and circulated today in some media outlets by the Lagos State Waterways Authority, in the wake of this incident. We shall not dignify them by descending to the pedestrian level that they did, regrettably seizing a moment of sorrow and pain to do so.
At times like this, responsible and accountable government agencies should be concerned about providing succor to victims and families, assisting in rescue operations and examining the cause(s) of the mishap with a view to curtailing possible future occurrences.
In order to put the records correctly, the public is invited to note the facts stated above regarding this incident and to ignore the lies and propaganda of the Lagos State Waterways Authority. We shall equally not comment on the recent Court of Appeal judgment they alluded to, as the matter is now effectively before the Supreme Court of Nigeria