Lagos Boat Operators Decry Increase in Waterway Crimes

The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria has expressed concern over the escalating criminal activities on the Lagos State waterways, urging for immediate action.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday, the President of ATBOWATN, Tarzan Balogun, highlighted the urgent need for increased presence of marine police officers to counter the rising threat.

Balogun emphasised that amidst the security challenges in Nigeria, criminals have turned to the waterways as alternate escape routes.

He stressed the importance of both federal and state governments deploying more officers and ensuring they are adequately equipped for effective operations.

Proposing solutions, Balogun advocated for the provision of new speedboats with powerful engines and enhanced maintenance practices.

He also called for improved lighting along the waterways and the supply of advanced ammunition to strengthen security measures.

Pointing to recent incidents, including the kidnapping of a sand dredger in the Eti-Osa area, Balogun underscored the grave implications of unchecked criminal activities on the waterways.

He urged swift and concerted efforts from both levels of government to address the situation before it worsens.

Last November, the Western Naval Command launched “Operation Water Guard” in the Badagry area to combat smuggling, piracy, and oil theft. Rear Admiral MB Hassan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, emphasised the operation’s importance in safeguarding the nation’s economy against illicit maritime activities.

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