By Babajide Okeowo
The Waterfront Boat Owners and Transporters Association (WABOTAN) has disclosed that having a comprehensive insurance scheme in place in case of eventualities will encourage more people to embark on water transportation.
This is even as the association appealed for a government buy-in in this insurance scheme to encourage the development of water transportation in Nigeria.
MMS Plus had reported that Nigeria had in the last couple of weeks witnessed fatal boat transportation mishaps in Kwara, Cross River and Sokoto States in recent times killing about two hundred people in the process.
Speaking on the development, Chief Raymond Gold, a boat operator and the Public Relations Officer of WABOTAN in an exclusive interview with MMS Plus disclosed that the incidents are very disheartening and that having a comprehensive insurance package in place for boat users will go a long way in countering any apathy that might arise in case of such eventualities.
“It is very disheartening, very, very disheartening. You know as an association and as stakeholders in the water transport sector, we have always said we are trying to make water transport as safe as possible, so, when incidents like these happen, it can be very disheartening” he started.
Speaking on, he urged the government to partner with the association and operators in the industry on insurance package to mitigate the effect of such mishaps.
“In the area of insurance, as an association we are developing, we have some plans. For users, that is those whom we are transporting and moving by water, and even for our drivers because we have both owners and drivers in our own association.
There is a limit to what an association can do. There are certain areas we need help, where the government must come in.
It would be good if the comprehensive insurance package is there. Maybe a kind of participatory thing on the part of the fare paid, the user pays something which would go into this scheme, which is something that I think has been done with the road transport system.
We have this plan as an association, and in several cases here we’ve had a reason to discuss with government agencies on it. We’ve already explained it as well. So we are using this opportunity to call on the government to listen to these ideas that we are proposing, and implement the possibility of putting them in place sooner because at the end of the day, nobody prefers them to happen but most times they happen, and when they happen, the best we can do is to say that we manage the situation.
So, we call on government to look at these plans that we have been proposing, and we’ve been doing this for some time, look at these plans. It will be good if there’s an insurance package that takes care of things like this. It will also be good if government supports it by also making the enabling law,
For example, when you pay tax, a part of it goes for insurance, that if anything happens, there is what they call the basics, for example, rescue operation of water mishaps, rescue and recovery, mortuary, ambulance, and all that, they could be covered by this kind of thing. Then we also look at the case of any kind of permanent disability” he said.