Mr. Ganiyu Balogun, Managing Director, Tarzan Boat Company Ltd, has applauded the Nigerian Marine Police for ensuring the safety of lives and properties on the waterways.
Balogun told NAN in Lagos, on Saturday that marine policemen have devoted adequate hours policing Lagos waters towards ensuring the safety of both operators and users.
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“Boat operators have not lodged any complaint about stolen boats in the last few months.
“There is no record of sea pirates attack in Lagos in the last one year,” he said.
Balogun recalled that about 10 years ago, more than seven boats worth millions of naira were stolen by pirates.
“Up till date, those boats are yet to be recovered.
“Since that time up till now, I have not experience stolen boat, the marine police are on top of their duty by patrolling the waterways regularly,” he said.
He, however, called for the provision of the needed facilities for marine police officers to enable them to continue to discharge their duties on waterways effectively.
Balogun said that water transportation business was a serious business that required seriousness and attention from both the government and operators.
“Government should pay attention to water transportation as they take road and air transportation seriously.
“For a state like Lagos, the government needs to pay attention to water transportation as an alternative means of transport to the road.
“This development will help to decongest traffic on the road.”
According to him, water transportation is capital intensive to maintain boats.
He equates investment in marine transport to that of air transport business, saying boat engines and other elements that go with it were very expensive to acquire.
“It is almost like operating aircraft business with functional airports, just as water transportation requires functional jetties and terminals across the state.
“There is a need for government to provide soft loans as incentives to operators to ease their funding challenges.
“Because it is capital intensive to run a successful boat transport business.
“There is the need for Public, Private, Partnership (PPP),” he said.
Balogun, however, commended National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State Water Authority (LASWA) for ensuring smooth operations on the waterways.