Lagos state chapter of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters( ATBOWATON) rose from an emergency meeting yesterday, determined to overhaul its operational strategies, zeroing on “one zone, one project” agenda to empower its members hit by subsidy removal impacts.
The association at the meeting called at the instance of its national acting Board of Trustees chairman, Mr Frank Meke, and the National President, Dr Gani Tarzan Balogun, agreed to evaluate its operational impact, reach out to agreived members and enthrone reconciliations, factor new developmental strides and also tackle cases of proven double taxation of its members.
Chairman, lagos ATBOWATON, Engineer Babatunde lawal, stated that the association pioneered and made huge sacrifices for the promotion and growth of water transportation in the state, nay Nigeria, but unfortunately has not benefited for its struggles for effective and secured movement of goods and persons across littoral communities in the state.
Engineer lawal urged the members to be consistent and resist external forces bent to divide the frontline water transportation body, noting that the doors of the association in lagos is open to everyone who is willing to operate by the extant regulations by federal and state authorities, and the constitution of ATBOWATON.
” we were once at the forefront of ensuring sanity on regulations ecosystem and went to court to prove our case. We recently obtained judgment against certain maritime organisation which does not own or operate boats yet wish to compel registered boat operators to pay levies to them. We must appreciate our members who stood with us at the risk of their lives through the court matter.” Lawal explained.
Speaking on the proposed effort to set up another union of boat operators in lagos and to which the members outrightly rejected, Engineer lawal promised to write relevant bodies pushing the for new action to know about the latest position of the association on the matter.
On palliatives for its members, the association disclosed that nothing practical in terms of delivery has reached the members, adding that the new fuel regime is making the business of its members and its clients very difficult.
The association further stated that palliatives with any unexplainable and confounding attached conditions will be outrightly rejected by the members, adding that any effort to give it anything by right hand and take it back through the left hand, will be politely turned down.
The lagos chapter of atbowaton noted that it will resist attempts to polarise its members, calling on all stakeholders to collaborate and unite to provide a secured water transportation ecosystem, and welcomed the creation of Marine and ocean economy ministry, which saw to unbundling of the once octopus Ministry of Transportation .