Lagos State Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu has urged Lagosians that his administration will prioritise absolute safety on the waterways by ensuring total compliance with safety protocols and regulations.
Sanwo-Olu spoke yesterday when he inaugurated seven high capacity boats and cowry cards at the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) Boat Jetty in Ikoyi.
The governor, who was represented by Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat, urged the people to embrace water transportation “as it remains the fastest, most reliable and safest means of transportation within our dear state”.
He said: “I am elated to be here today to commission seven new boats built by local builders to enhance the capacity of the Lagos Ferry Services for efficient service delivery.
“The procurement of these high capacity boats is in fulfillment of our promise to double the number of boats in the LAGFERRY fleet within the shortest time, and increase its capacity to daily transport more Lagosians to reduce traffic congestion on our roads.
“We are also launching the Cowry Card for water transportation to create a seamless payment scheme for our Multimodal Transportation System, which I am happy to note, is gradually taking shape as we have begun the integration of our rail lines, bus terminals and waterways.
“We are already witnessing positive outcomes from our investment in the safety and viability of our waterways as a safe alternative to road transportation. In the last one year, LAGFERRY has moved over 500,000 passengers across our waterways, including the Super Eagles, who were successfully ferried to and from Benin Republic for their AFCON qualifying match.
“In addition to commuting people, it is heartwarming to know that LAGFERRY promotes tourism and commerce by providing logistics solutions to business owners, who move their trucks and cargoes through the waterways within Apapa and through regular charter services.
“I also urge the organised private sector to invest in water transportation, as the economic potential is limitless. I assure you that we will continue to support private sector participation in water transportation by putting in place the most appropriate regulatory framework for high returns on investment.
“We are building and rehabilitating 15 jetties across the state and dredging our waterways to open up more jetties.
“Our people have nothing to fear when they board our ferries: I urge Lagosians to embrace water transportation as it remains the fastest, most reliable and safest means of transportation within our dear state. Our administration will continue to prioritise absolute safety on our waterways by ensuring total compliance with safety protocols and regulations, including regular use of life jackets by both operators and passengers, conducting seaworthiness inspections bi-annually, and removing wrecks from navigable channels.”
Managing Director of LAGFERRY Abdoulbaq Ladi-Balogun noted that the seven new boats bring the total number of boats to 20 running concurrent commercial operations.