One of the survivors of the Ikorodu boat accident, Seun Adebanjo, 26, has said that the ill-fated ferry which killed five of the passengers, developed fault two different times on water before it eventually capsized.
Adebanjo, who spoke with journalists, said she would not have boarded the boat if she had heeded the advice of a friend who warned her not to board it.
Five people died, while many others were hospitalised after the commercial boat capsized in the Bayeku, Igbogbo, Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Waterways Authority, with the support of local divers, were said to have rescued the victims from the waters. The survivors have been discharged after they were certified fit by doctors at the Ikorodu General Hospital.
Adebanjo, who is one of the survivors, said, “I was going to Ikorodu that morning and I decided to take a boat. A friend, however, warned me not to go on a boat, but I ignored him because of the traffic on the Lagos Island.
“We took off from Oke Ira Nla Jetty on the Island and five minutes into the journey, the boat had a fault and the captain fixed it with his assistant who was at the back.
“After some time, we continued with the journey; in less than two minutes, the problem re-surfaced. Again they fixed it.
“A few minutes after, the boat had another fault and before we knew it, it capsized.”
Adebanjo, an undergraduate of Social Works, University of Ibadan, said the life jackets they were given were not effective.
“The life jackets did not help at all. We were screaming for help as we began to drown. I should have known that the boat was not good because before we entered, the captain and his assistant were sleeping in it. Maybe they also knew it was not in good condition,” she added.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Government said it would embark on an aggressive campaign and enforcement of guidelines for commercial boat operators to reduce boat accidents in the state.
Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority, Mrs. Abisola Kamson, gave this indication in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos.
Kamson said the new drive was in line with the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to ensure that water transportation remained the most efficient and cost effective mode of transportation.
Kamson spoke on the backdrop of the boat mishap which occurred on Friday along Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah-Bayeku, Ikorodu axis of the state.
She said LASWA was notified of the incident involving a Bayeku Ferry Association commercial boat carrying 20 passengers and two crew members from Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah to Bayeku in Ikorodu.
She said upon receiving the notification, the authority’s water guards were immediately deployed to the scene of the incident to assist in rescue efforts.
Kamson said all passengers on-board wore life jackets and that 17 of them were rescued alive while five who were earlier rushed to the nearest General Hospital, died afterwards.
The LASWA boss said preliminary investigation by the authority revealed that asides the mechanical fault that developed when the steering cable connected to the engine propeller cut, the captain of the boat might have been overspeeding.
She said he was presently being questioned by the Marine Police.
On Wednesday at Sabokoji Jetty in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, LASWA commenced the distribution of 2,400 life jackets to students of riverine areas.
There were live demonstrations of how to wear the life jackets.
By Pita Ochai