LASEMA warns of waterways safety ahead 3rd Mainland Bridge partial closure

Aerial view of 3rd Mainland Bridge, Lagos State, Nigeria.

Ahead of partial closure of 3rd Mainland bridge on Friday, 24th July, 2020, a joint inspection of strategic jetties and terminal has been conducted Sunday, by the  Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC) to monitor safety procedures.

The exercise, which is coming 5 days to the closure of the bridge was announced in a statement by the Head, Public Affairs, LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor.

Okunbor, stated that the inspection was a result of series of meetings between LASEMA and other safety agencies, where the DG/CEO LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, declared LASEMA’s state of readiness alongside its first responders who have all been placed on high alert with appropriate equipment, for the period of closure. 

According to Dr. Oke-Osanyintolu, the collaboration between LASEMA and other Lagos State safety agencies involved in the Inspection of jetties was a necessary move to ensure implementation of safety protocols ahead of this week’s partial closure of the 3rd Mainland Bridge from Friday 24th July, 2020 to 24th January, 2021.

This action, he revealed was in line with other strategies mapped out by LASEMA for deployment of its highly trained and efficient staff which will be backed by the maximal application of its equipment and supported with appropriate technology to ensure all-round safety of Lagosians on land and water during the period of partial closure of the Lagos Third Mainland Bridge. 

The joint inspection team visited the CMS terminal; Ebute-Ero Marina; both on Lagos Island and the Bariga Waterfront Jetty in Ilaje area of Bariga.

While speaking at the Bariga Waterfront Jetty in Ilaje-Bariga, the LASEMA Director-General said that the joint inspection was aimed at ensuring that all operators abide by the stipulated safety regulations for safety of all.

Dr Oke-Osanyintolu who said roads leading to the jetties have been repaired while reeling out government’s stringent measures, reiterated that night journeys would not be permitted, just as he advised residents to cooperate with government to ensure smooth operations and at the same time reduce the anticipated stress the partial closure of the 3rd Mainland Bridge would cause commuters.

“We are going to deploy Safety Marshals and Water Guards to ensure that operators keep to the rules and regulations and also enforce the use of Life Jackets and ensure that they do not use our waterways after 7pm”, Oke-Osanyintolu said.

The LASEMA DG, who stated that boat operators would maintain stipulated capacity and ensure they have the mandatory life buoys as part of necessary safety measures; revealed that the agency would position its ambulances and rescue boats at strategic locations in conjunction with the Lagos State Waterways Authority and maintain a 24-hour watch by its Marine Unit, especially between the peak periods of 6:30am and 7:00pm daily as a lot more passengers would travel the alternate routes and waterways, during the partial closure of Lagos Third Mainland Bridge.

In the course of the joint inspection, a boat carrying four passengers without life jackets was seized and sanctioned, while the passengers were educated on the need to use life jackets during every journey on the waterways, no matter how short.

The LASEMA DG, however reminded Lagosians to reach the agency in case of emergencies through the 767 or 112 toll free emergency numbers, or call 08060907333, his personal line.

By Tobiloba Kolawole