The management of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) conducted a joint inspection of strategic jetties and terminals with other stakeholders on Sunday, to monitor safety procedures, ahead of the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge.
The 11.8km bridge, described as the longest in Nigeria and inaugurated by former military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, 30 years ago, is slated for partial closure on July 24.
The closure is to carry out repairs on the facility, which has been dilapidating over the years, due to a lack of regular maintenance.
The Director General of LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, disclosed that the joint inspection was carried out with officials of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the Lagos Safety Commission.
During the inspection, the team visited jetties at CMS, Ebute-Ero Marina and Ilaje Waterfront in Bariga on the Lagos Mainland.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the joint inspection was to make operators to abide by stipulated safety regulations.
According to him, the inspection is coming on the heels of a series of meetings between LASEMA and other safety agencies, where LASEMA’s management declared its readiness and that of first responders.
He said that responders had been placed on high alert with appropriate equipment for the upcoming task that would arise from the closure of the bridge.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the collaboration between LASEMA and other safety agencies was necessary to ensure the implementation of safety protocols, ahead of the partial closure until Jan. 24 next year.
He said that the inspection was also in line with other strategies mapped out by LASEMA for the deployment of its trained staff, who according to him, will be backed with deployment of sophisticated equipment.
“The exercise will be supported with cutting-edge technology to ensure all-round safety of Lagos residents on land and water during the period of partial closure of the bridge.”
The LASEMA chief restated that roads leading to the jetties had been repaired, saying that night journeys would not be permitted, among other stringent safety measures already put in place.
He advised Lagos residents to cooperate with government to ensure smooth operations on the roads, to reduce the anticipated stress the partial closure of the bridge would cause to motorists and commuters.
“We are going to deploy safety marshals and water guards to ensure that operators keep to rules and regulations.
“There will be strict enforcement of the use of life jackets and we are also ensuring that people will not use our waterways after 7 p.m.
“Boat operators will maintain stipulated capacity and ensure that they have the mandatory lifebuoys as part of necessary safety measures, while the agency will position its ambulances and rescue boats at strategic locations.
“This will be done in conjunction with the Lagos State Waterways Authority, who will maintain a 24-hour watch by its Marine Unit, especially between the peak periods of 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily.
Oke-Osanyintolu reminded Lagos residents to use the toll free emergency numbers: 767 or 112, advising that residents could also reach in him on his personal number: 08060907333.
He gave other contacts that could be reached during emergencies as: LASEMA’s Director of Operations, Mr Olatunde Akinsanya: 08033391151 and the Head of LASEMA’s Lekki Zone and Marine Unit, Mr Semire Ilori on: 08034456121.