Boat Operators Float New Association; WABOTAN, receives the mention LASWA

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has commissioned the new Waterfronts Boat Owners and Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN) to solve most of the challenges facing the waterways of Lagos and to train drivers and boat owners.

LASWA Director General, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel on Thursday received the leadership of WABOTAN led by its National President, Mr. Babatope Fajemirokun, National Secretary, Kafo Lateef, Spokesperson, Chief Raymond Gold, among others.

WABOTAN inna group photo with LASWA management

The General Manager of LASWA after listening to the aims and objectives of WABOTAN which mainly dwell on the promotion of safety and security on the waterways, the training of operators and the creation of a database which would help different government agencies.

He commended the leaders for their foresight, adding that the Authority would always watch and monitor to ensure they did not derail its implementation.

“A lot of associations came to see us at NIWA, but they are only about money, that was a deciding factor.
For me, I would follow you closely, especially on your goals and objectives, from today, we have already set a benchmark for you, by December, we will take stock of these objectives

“As an authority we would be watching to see that you are operating within the scope of what you have promised to do, we are concerned to see how you can achieve these goals, that is our main objective.

“The issues you listed are the major issues currently plaguing the waterways, so if you can come and fix it, believe me, that would be an ‘A’ star for your association,” he said.

The boss of LASWA asked to receive official documentation from the association and frequent updates.

Speaking earlier, the National Chairman of WABOTAN, Mr Babatope Fajemirokun said that the association is incorporated under the Companies and Related Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 as amended and fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to him, the association has existed for five years, but has decided to play the second role.

“Part of our aims and objectives is; promote safety and security on our waterways, train and retrain our members to develop and strengthen the workforce of the water transport sector.

“Create a database that can help in the implementation of plans. Assist various government agencies to collect government revenue in a transparent manner. We are also set up to empower our members to create wealth and reduce poverty.

Mr. Fajemirokun noted that WABOTAN has its members spread across the littoral states of the country and in Lagos alone it has 250 registered members. He added that on almost all piers, WABOTAN has boat operators and boat owners who are members.

Mr. Fajemirokun dismissed thoughts of conflicts between WABOTAN and other sister associations that existed, especially ATBOWATON, saying that WABOTAN would only complement their successes.

He clarified that 95% of WABOTAN members are new members and not existing members of any of the sister associations.

“ATBOWATON and other associations and stakeholders who have been on the waterways before us, we will partner with them, including the Maritime Workers Union (MWUN)

“In terms of contributions and payments, there would be no such thing as double taxation. If you identify with one association, I don’t see the possibility of belonging to two associations. The MWUN is created by the law on trade unions, while we are created by the CAMA, these are two different things, all the members of the union do not belong to an association and there is freedom of association. he stated.

Also speaking, WABOTAN National Publicity Secretary, Chief Raymond Gold assured that the association is here to develop water transport into a viable and sustainable alternative to the challenges facing our roads.

“Our association has actually been around for a few years, but this time around we felt we needed to regularize it, so we incorporated, we’ve been active participants in the water transport business.

“We believe we can make water transport a viable and sustainable alternative to the challenges we face on our roads.
We are now seeking partnerships with relevant government departments, ministries and agencies.

“We have in place a multipurpose society through which our members can access micro credit, you agree with me that this would reduce poverty to a large extent, whatever we do, we support the government. In a way, we would reduce unemployment, we would keep people away from crime, we would increase the number of boats on the waterways.

“By doing so, in partnership with government agencies, dues payable to government would be collected through our association in a transparent manner.

“We have already started developing a database, and the numbers should be as transparent as possible. The government has no problem chasing the practitioners, they would collect their income,” he said.

Andrew B. Reiter