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Port Harcourt Commuters Decry Scarce Safety Kits

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Some commuters travelling through the Eagle Island/Mgbuodohia water route in Port Harcourt, have raised alarm over the absence of safety kits in speed boats.
This was the prominent complaint of most commuters who responded to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey in the area on Tuesday.

The commuters expressed worries that speed boat operators plying the route were less concerned about their safety and that of their passengers.

Chief Sunday Ajoku, a trader residing in Mgbuodohia, urged the boat drivers to provide safety kits in their boats, especially during festive periods.
“None of the boats is equipped with safety kits; it is a very worrisome situation. I think that something actually should be done.

“We are all aware of the hurry associated with festive periods; they need to make provisions for safety kits to avoid casualties in the event of accidents,’’ he said.

Another commuter and student, Jane Nwagwu, said she used the water route on a daily basis, adding, “the absence of safety kits has always worried me.’’
“I go to school from home. I use the boats on a daily basis and I must say that God has always been there for me and others.
“Being in these speed boats without safety kits is the most dangerous decisions I have made, but I am constrained; I must go to school,’’ she said.

One of the boat drivers, Nekabari Nwidag, who spoke to NAN, said they were looking up to the State Government for assistance in providing them with safety kits.
“Doing transport business along water routes without safety kits is not good, but at the level we operate, it is difficult to buy these kits.

“We do not have that kind of money; sometimes it is difficult to even make profits and take something home. We need government’s support,’’ he said.
A Port Harcourt-based safety expert, Mr Azeruchi Elechi, said that apart from providing safety kits, boat drivers required training to ensure safe operations.
“Our society requires serious orientation; as an expert, I feel worried too; the situation is not different in other water routes in the state.

“The government and the transport sector must work together not only in the provision of kits, but in training water transport operators for their safety and those of their passengers,’’ he said.

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