APC Warri Boat Mishap – An Avoidable Human Carnage
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
GbaramatuVoice expresses its deepest condolence to the families of the victims, of the human carnage which occurred in the night of Tuesday, December 20, 2022, involving one of the boats conveying members of Ovie Omo-Agege Campaign Organization from Okerenkoko/Ugborodo back to Warri after the party’s ward-to-ward campaigns.
While the newspaper mourns and pray that God Almighty comforts and gives them fortitude in these trying times, the pains resulting from the incident is further deepened by the fact that it was avoidable if this is a civil society where human lives are valued.
Aside from being one accident, too many, GbaramtuVoice classifies the latest boat calamity as a sin that Omo-Agege, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and of course, the Marine Arm of the Nigeria Police Force must share in its guilt.
The reasons are glaring and speak for it.
First, Omo-Agege, knew that he was going to the riverine communities for ward-to-ward campaign yet, he choose to keep the people till late at night even when he is well aware that the entire communities located within the creeks of the Niger Delta cannot be accessed by road/bridges but only through local canoes/boats administered by local operators and fixed with neither local light nor modern electrical lighting system.
Omo-Agege cannot claim ignorance about the peculiar nature of the reverine communities, so, what stopped him from visiting early, and closing his campaign on time so that party faithfuls can get home before night falls?
GbaramatuVoice believes that if Omo-Agege has good leadership judgment and value for lives of his followers, he would have attended to the people of the riverine communities in a broad day light. The reason is simple, if this accident had occurred during the day (which the newspaper doubts), a better rescue operation would have occurred.
Again, if the APC led Federal Government, of which Omo-Agege is part and parcel of, as the Deputy President of the nation’s senate, who knows, this ugly incident would have been avoided.
Another source of error that calls for concern is Omo-Agege’s hasty and erroneous declaration that two persons lost their lives, three are missing, and seven others are in hospital receiving treatment from injuries sustained in the accident.
As at the time of filing this report, GbaramatuVoice can state without fear of contradiction that five (5) corpses have been recovered by search team and deposited at the mortuary even as search continues.
Qualifying the situation as a crisis is the awareness that the activities of these operators are neither regulated nor properly monitored by relevant agencies.
That boats are operating at night without light is a regulatory failure on the part of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Nigerian Police (Marine Unit).
If the Federal Road Safety Commission can plan, implement and enforce safety on Nigeria roads, what stops NIWA, a sister agency charged with similar responsibilities on the nation’s inland waterways from copying and doing the same? Who approves, certifies the expertise and safety observances of these boat operators on the creeks?
GbaramtuVoice holds the opinion that NIWA and Nigerian Marine Police must make their presence on the Niger Delta creeks felt.
Finally, as we continue to pray for the peaceful repose of the departed, the newspaper calls on other political parties to draw a lesson from this current ugly incident. Infact, it is important that henceforth, every campaign within the riverine communities must end on, or before 5pm. Politicians or public office holders in the state must unlearn the habit of endangering the lives of their followers.
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