Boat Mishap: We must ensure that it does not happen again – Abe

Gladys Nweke

Reactions have continued to trail the Saturday, July 28th Bakana boat mishap that led to the death of Joe Blankson as people have called on the state government to ensure a safer water travelling scheme that would reduce the incident of boats capsize.

The Senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly Governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has called for stiffer regulations in the marine transport sector in Rivers State in order to checkmate the incessant cases of boat mishaps along the state’s waterways.

Senator Abe spoke against the backdrop of a recent boat accident along the Bakana waterways in Degema Local Government Area, which resulted in several fatalities.

He described the late Joseph Blankson, who died while rescuing his fellow passengers during their boat capsize as a genuine hero.

Senator Abe, who paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Blankson of Bakana Community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, expressed regrets that several lives are lost daily on the state’s waterways.

He urged the state government to do more by ensuring that those responsible for the movement of passenger-boats on waterways in the state live up to their responsibilities.

“We need to find out exactly why these things continue to occur and people are not being held accountable.

“What are the rules and regulations that guide our waterways? Who are those responsible for the enforcement of the rules? Why do we continue to throw precious lives away without taking action?

“What are we doing to ensure that whoever is responsible is held accountable and punished to ensure that it does not happen again to other people?

“More importantly, we need to realise that when we do not have regulations, or where we have regulations and we fail to enforce them, where people are charged with responsibilities and they fail to discharge those responsibilities and in the process lives are lost, those responsible for that thing that they did not do are responsible for those lives that are lost.

“As we stand here today, people have died on our waterways. If these passengers had life jackets, if they obeyed the regulations that govern our waterways, all these people that are dead will today we must go beyond issuing statements

“We must take practical steps to punish those that are responsible and to ensure that this does not happen again, so that tomorrow, we do not need to pay this kind of visit to another mother that is grieving.

“From what I gathered, several other lives were lost. There are several homes today where there is no joy. Strong action must be taken to forestall a repeat of this tragedy” he said.