By Ray Ugochukwu
Ferry passengers in Lagos plying the Marina – Apapa route were on Monday stranded as water hyacinth, which took over the waterways, impeded movement of boats.
Boat operators were seen midstream struggling with navigation as the water weeds got entangled with the engines of their craft.
Consequently, many boats were seen permanently parked at the jetties while passengers, who had obtained tickets, kept waiting at the departure points.
Passengers struggling to board an available ferry at the Apapa Jetty
Many passengers at Seacoach Jetty, who could no longer stand the waiting game, were seen collecting monies they had paid for tickets to make alternative travel arrangements.
A boat driver, who introduced himself as Cornel Ebowei, told Seabreeze News that the problem started since last week and had drastically affected their operations.
A section of the Apapa Jetty taken over by water hyacinth
Ebowei, who expressed disappointment over the failure of the authorities to address the problem, lamented that boat operators were finding it difficult to break even. He disclosed that many of them, who were operating either on higher purchase or daily return basis, were the worst hit.
He pleaded with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), which collects taxes from them, to do something urgently.
Attempt to reach NIWA officials for comments on the development were unsuccessful.