The Lagos State Government on Sunday restated its commitment to sanitize the water transport system in order to safeguard and having an efficient mode of movement of people and goods on its waterways.
Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Ms Abisola Kamson in a statement said the government had recently embarked on stock taking and repositioning by putting efforts in place to ensure sanity on its waterways that would also prevent mishaps and wanton loss of lives.
She said the current operations on the waterways does not conform to the international standard, which the State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode intends to reposition the water transport system, saying the process is not limited to the private sector operators alone.
“Whereas in the quest to sanitize the waterways, government has taken giant steps to start from its home front. It has ordered the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRIES) whose current fleet is not considered water worthy to dispense of them, and prepare to comply with new Guidelines and Standards as issued jointly by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the LASWA.
“Implicitly, the sanitization and reorganization going on in the water transportation subsector is not limited to private operators alone. It is a cleansing that is aimed at ensuring the total safety of our people. Jetties, Terminal, Ferries and other water related infrastructure that is not worthy would not be allowed. The Ambode’s vision of a new prosperous Lagos is to pursue first class agenda and give Lagosians world class standards,” Kamson said.
Kamson however expressed concerns that in recent times, some non-complaint private operators on the waterways had misconstrued the moves by the State Government as a ploy to harass and intimidate them out of business and had been peddling unwarranted falsehood, claims, counter claims and litigations in the media.
She said some private operators had also gone further to accuse Government of wrongful takeover of properties and attempts to scuffle business people out of waterways transportation.
“It is therefore misplaced and self-seeking for any one, organization, or a group of people to masquerade themselves as messiahs in this direction. Where any organization feels shortchanged in this on-going exercise and has genuine claims, they are advised to lay their claims legitimately and through relevant bodies for redress where appropriate. This administration is a listening one that remains extremely committed to private sector participation and collaboration in uplifting the development of water transportation in Lagos State,” she said.
Explaining some of the painstaking efforts of government to modernize and move water transportation forward, the Government has concluded a Master Plan which has identified 30 routes across the State which according to her, have been earmarked for channelization, dredging, lighting and demarcation specifically for water transportation.
She listed some of the routes to include Badore – Five Cowries, Badore – Ijede, Baiyeku – Ajah, Baiyeku – Langbasa, Ebute Ojo – Marina, Ijede – Marina/CMS, Ikorodu – Falomo, Mile 2 To Marina, Oworonsoki – Five Cowries, Ikorodu – Oworonshoki, Marina/C.M.S, Oworonshoki To Ebute Ero. These routes have been earmarked for channelization, dredging, lighting and demarcation specifically for water transportation.
She said the jetties in the State also require upgrade, modernization and addition of new constriction, saying the only solution is for government to be proactive in this direction.
“Consequently, government is also planning to embark on the rehabilitation and construction of existing and new jetties across the State. This include but not limited to the completion of Ikorodu and Badore Terminals for takeoff, new terminals at Oworonshoki, Ebute Ero/Marina, Five Cowries, construction of new jetties at Ofin Waterfront, Isalu Ajido Waterfront, and the rehabilitation existing jetties at Ijede, Badore East. For the rolling stock (ferries), government is repositioning its operational arm LAGFERRIES to begin the process of actualizing this dream with work in progress,” Kamson said.
She explained that the magnitude of these activities requires thorough planning and carefulness. As the enormous funding required would come from scarce resources, and therefore must be properly scrutinized, appropriated and provided, hence the seeming delay being perceived by the public.
“While government is not relenting in the quest to achieve all of this, it would not fold its arms and allow the wanton loss of lives that has been experienced on our waterways owing to negligence, rickety ferries, and unsafe operational equipment and activities to continue unchecked,” she said.