Lagos Boats Use Inaccurate Manifests, Risk Fraud, Passenger Safety

The Boat Passengers Manifest meant to carry the necessary details of commuters at the Ikorodu Ferry Terminal is laden with omissions and inaccuracies, FIJ can report.

FIJ monitored the passengers’ manifest for about a week of daily boat trips from Ikorodu to Victoria Island and found that the details hardly matched the actual commuters many times.

Sometimes, the actual passengers outnumbered the passengers registered on the manifest, as can be seen in this clip recorded on Wednesday. There were already three passengers on this boat but only two appeared on the manifest

A manifest is a document of evidence; it is also a piece of paperwork that comes in handy under different transportation circumstances. This document typically contains the names of passengers, their sex, their contact details and their luggage. More details, such as the drivers of the vehicle, the destination and the time of travel, are also necessary.

The manifest can provide a clue if law enforcement needs to find any individual who went aboard. If there is a boat accident (we try to forbid it), first responders can contact loved ones via the manifest. The authorities can be sure they let a passenger get on the boat with luggage if it is properly stated in the manifest. LASWA can find out if a state-funded boat received money for two passengers instead of three when the manifest is accurate.

However, with the way the manifests currently exist, none of these purposes will be fulfilled if the need ever arises.

In the past months, survivors of boat accidents told FIJ how the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) failed to help them after a terrible ordeal in the Lagoon. LASWA’s chief later claimed that the manifest, which was meant to help passengers recover their belongings and seek any little compensation, was unreliable.

“Personally, I tried to reach the 23 passengers on the manifest; I succeeded in talking to three people,” Abdoulbaq Ladi Balogun, the managing director of Lagferry, said after one boat accident this year.

“Our findings revealed that most of the contacts given as the next of kin are not accurate.”

LASWA still fails to take the proper use of passengers’ manifests seriously to date.

Source: Foundation for Investigative Journalism

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