Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) is set to deploy CCTV cameras on the waterways as part of measures to check insecurity especially incidence of kidnapping by suspected militants.
Lagos, West Africa’s commercial centre with vast water bodies, has recorded several cases of kidnapping, many of which are perpetrated by suspected militants who usually escape with their victims via the waterways.
The last of such was the kidnapping of six students of Government Model College, Igbonla, Epe. They were ferried by their captors through the creeks from Lagos to Ondo State, where they were held in captivity for 54 days before being released.
Abisola Kamson, managing director of LASWA told BusinessDay in an interview that the Lagos State government is working to deploy new technology including Global Positioning System (GPS) and cameras to track boats on the waterways to check insecurity and boost the confidence of people.
“We are working to deploy new technology on our waterways. Each boat travelling on our waterways would be tracked with cameras. We would know who the operators are and who they are carrying,” said Kamson.
She added that the Lagos State government remained committed to the safety of the waterways and l is being further encouraged by the recent ruling of the Appeal Court, which upholds the powers of Lagos State House of Assembly to make laws regulating and controlling economic activities on its inland waterways.
The state government won the case against National Inland Waterways (NIWA) which is seen only making money through taxes and levies it imposes on boat operators, sand dredgers and others, but falls short of committing resources to enhancing the safety of the waterways.
Lagos, a coastal state with over 24 water routes, currently utilises less than 2 per cent of its waters for public transportation due to a number of factors, including safety concerns, absence of navigational aids and long standing jurisdictional issue with NIWA, a narrative which, according to Kamson, is now to change for good.
She urged NIWA to fully obey the Appeal Court ruling and to stop inciting boat operators and dredgers against the Lagos State government. NIWA recently directed boat operators and dredgers to ignore a seven-day ultimatum issued to them to comply with Lagos State laws governing operations on the waterways.