By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos, Aug.1, 2020 A Lagos Lawmaker, Mr David Setonji, has raised alarm over the drowning of 14 persons en route to the coastal city last Wednesday following the total collapse of Lagos-Badagry expressway.
Newsmen reports that at least 10 persons died and four others missing after a boat en route Badagry capsized at Kirikiri, Lagos on Wednesday.
Setonji, member representing Badagry Constituency II in Lagos House of Assembly, told NAN on Saturday that total collapse of Badagry road forced the victims to undertake the ill-fated journey on waterways.
NAN reports that Lagos State Government is responsible for the Iganmu – Okokomaiko section of the highway while FERMA is handling Okokomaiko – Agbara axis of the road.
Also, the federal government in 2018 awarded the reconstruction of 46km Agbara – Seme section of Badagry expressway to CGC Nigeria Limited which had abandoned the project.
“I am devastated by the pictures of the victims of the boat mishap that happened between Lagos and Badagry.
“Our people are looking for alternative means of transportation due to the total collapse and neglect of the Badagry expressway.
“We have made repeated calls for completion of work on this very important access road to Badagry.
“We have suffered greatly and are still suffering. Governance should be about welfare and safety of the people.
” I am pleading and begging government to urgently intervene to make the road safer for people,” said Setonji, Chairman, House Committee on Home Affairs.
A body being recovered from the water after the Wednesday’s boat mishap
According to him, it is like Badagry is cut off from Lagos State.
“The road is in shambles and total mess at the moment, that is why our people resorted to water transport most times,” he added.
NAN reports that the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) said that an open boat carrying 19 passengers capsized at about 6.00p.m. while en route to Badagry on Wednesday.
“A survivor’s account states that the boat captain got distracted trying to collect fares from a passenger and the boat was overturned by the current and most passengers were yet to put on their life jackets properly.
“Rescue effort was immediate as the boat was just a few meters from the landing in which they left from but only five people were rescued.
“A total of 19 persons were involved in the incident, five were rescued with 10 persons confirmed dead and four still unaccounted for including the boat’s deckhand .
“LASWA has apprehended the boat captain and has handed him over to the marine police for further investigations and sanctions,” General Manager of LASWA, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel had said.
Emmanuel had said that the emergency and regulatory authorities were still on a search and rescue operation, saying that the authority had stepped up its enforcement of rules and regulations on ferry operators.