A member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, representing Okrika Constituency, Hon. Belema Okpokiri has enjoined speed boat drivers in Okrika to be safety conscious at all time.
Hon Okpokiri, who made the call during a meeting with a newly formed Okrika marine stakeholders forum in Port Harcourt said this became necessary following the ugly incident that occurred on Christmas Eve which led to the untimely death of a 6–year old boy at the Abuloma Jetty Waterfront.
He said such could be avoided if the driver had been a bit conscious, despite the indiscriminate packing of barges and thug boats, adding that they should always regard safety as their watchword.
According to him, the meeting was conneyed in order to address the issue of indiscriminate parking of barges and thug boats along the Marine Base, Abuloma, Okrika water ways, saying that as stakeholders in Marine Business they should find a lasting solution to ensure that the waterways are not blocked and there is free flow of boats in the area.
The lawmaker decried the attitude of some youths at Abuloma Waterfront and warned them to desist as all necessary machineries are being put in place to make the water ways safer and convenient, calling on the Ministry of Transport, Rivers State, National Inland Waterways and other relevant authorities to ensure the safety of passengers and remove the wrecks as well as smooth speed boat operations along the area.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Okrika Local Government Area, Barr. Tamuno Williams who described the meeting as timely said all hands must be on deck to ensure the safety of all passengers, and sympathised with the family of the young boy that lost his life in a boat mishap at the Abuloma Jetty, stressing that the people of Okrika would not condone such act of lawlessness by the operators of the Jetty.
Barr. Williams however disclosed that the Council had concluded arrangement to site flood lights at the waterfronts of some communities in the area for safety at night and also enjoined the operators of the Abuloma Jetty to do same, while noting that his end of year free transport scheme of December 31, 2011 to January 1, 2012 from Marine Base to Okrika would be extended to other communities in the area this year, and also thanked the lawmaker for his effort.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman, Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Okrika Chapter, Hon. Gilbert Fiberesima, the Chairman, Okrika Speed Boat Owners Association, Chief Opeya Sunday, among others. House, Abuloma, Moses Pina, Sir Dan Harrison, Chairman Marine Equipment Owners/Leasing Association of Nigeria, Abuloma, Elder F.S. Elijah of Fiala Marine Jetty Abuloma, J.E. Job of Adam Marine Services Abuloma among others.