The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) says it has distributed 3,170 life jackets to 17 local government areas of Niger.
Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, Manager Director of HYPPADEC, announced this during a stakeholders meeting and distribution of the life jackets to the local government areas in Minna on Thursday.
He said that the commission bought 10,000 units of life jackets for distribution to six HYPPADEC member states of Kebbi, Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau and Benue, adding that the life jackets were to protect water transport users.
“HYPPADEC was established to provide succour to riverine communities within the HYPPADEC zone and those under the downstream of dams and it had been mandated to do so,” he said.
Yelwa explained that the jackets were to provide safety to passengers of water transportation and appealed to water users to cooperate with their leaders to save lives.
He noted that more than 80 per cent of water users that used life jackets got saved during boat mishap as “the jackets have the capacity to keep victims floating for six hours before rescue operations’’.
He mentioned the benefitting local government areas to include; Agaie, Mokwa, Edati, Lavun, Gbako, Matcha, Agwara, Mashegu, Borgu, Magama, Mariga, Wushishi, Rafi, Lapai, Bosso, Munya and Shiroro.
In his address, Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger, appreciated the commission for the intervention to downstream communities and pledged the state government continuous support.
Bello, represented by Alhaji Ahmed Matane, Secretary to the State Government, lauded the commission plan to train youths from the affected communities on various skills to empower in order to make them self-reliance.
He called on National Water Authority (NIWA) to partner with the state Ministry of Transportation to regulate water users and ensure drivers of boats were registered to avoid boat mishaps.
The governor, however, urged beneficiaries of the safety jackets to make maximum use of them.
Also, Mr Abdullahi Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, represented by Ahmad Bello, Member representing Agwara Constituency, said that the house would come up with a legislation that would enforce use of jackets.(NAN)