The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria (ATBOWTON) on Monday called on the Lagos State Government to provide an enabling environment for boat operators to thrive in the country.
The ATBOWTON National President, Ganiyu Balogun, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that government’s policies had not helped the growth of the industry.
Balogun said some association members had, sometime in the past, wanted to develop the sector by providing capacity building and infrastructure but they were hindered by government’s policies.
He urged the state to also be flexible in its policies’ implementation to encourage positive development in water transportation.
Balogun urged the state government to earmark portions of land in every local government area as dumpsites to minimise dumping of refuse into the waterways by the public.
He said throwing faeces into the waterways could also be curbed, if public toilets were provided at strategic locations all over the state and the country also.
“Dumping of refuse and faeces in the waterways pollutes the waterways and causes it to smell; and this has always deterred the average tourist from plying the waterways. Apart from this, when refuse and feaces get into the boats’ engines, it destroys them. We need to have a neat and organised society,” Balogun said.
He, however, lauded the Lagos State Government for deploying marine police officers to functional jetties that in the state.
“Each of the jetties is now being manned by two marine policemen, and this has drastically reduced the crime rate. We love this development but we want more friendly laws that will enable us take water transportation to the next level,” Balogun added.