Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Tuesday urged Lagosians to embrace water transportation, saying it remains the fastest, most reliable and safest.
Sanwo-Olu stated this at the commissioning of seven additional high capacity boats and launch of the Cowry Card at the Five Cowries Terminal, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to him, people have nothing to fear when boarding the ferries, promising that his administration will continue to prioritize absolute safety on the waterways.
The governor said the additional boats would help in enhancing water transportation operations and to tackle traffic congestion on the roads.
He added that the Cowry Card would create a seamless payment scheme for Multimodal transport system.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, assured that his administration would continue to prioritize absolute safety on the waterways by ensuring total compliance with safety protocols and regulations.
“I urge Lagosians to embrace water transportation as it remains the fastest,
most reliable and safest means of transportation within our dear
“We will continue to ensure total compliance with safety protocols and regulations including regular use of life jackets by both operators and
“We will conduct sea worthiness inspections bi-annually, and remove wrecks from navigable channels.
“As part of our safety routine, we remain committed to developing modern Waterways Transport Infrastructure (Jetty/Terminals), continuous issuance and review of operational and safety guidelines, as well as constant monitoring and enforcement patrol of the Inland Waterways,”he said.
The governor pledged not to relent in making daily commute safe and less stressful.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that plans had been concluded to boost the water transportation safety measures and protocols with the deployment and installation of technological devices for improved navigation, the development of nautical charts and the purchase of state of the art patrol boats and safety equipment to upgrade LASWA’s SAR unit.
He urged the organized private sector to invest in water transportation, adding that the economic potential is limitless.
The governor assured that his administration would continue to support private sector participation in water transportation by putting in place the most appropriate regulatory framework for high returns on investment.
“We will continue to empower Lagos State Ferry Services (Lagferry) for efficient ferry services and provide an enabling environment for the continuous growth of water transportation.
Mr Abdoulbaq Balogun, Managing Director, Lagferry, said that since the inception of the agency, it had ferried over 524,000 passengers without recording any mishaps.
According to him, after 317 days of operations, the agency has ferried over 524,000 passengers through the waterways with an increasing daily average passenger flow of over 1,500.
The Lagferry boss said that a total of 12 passengers boats had collectively ran 7061 hours spanning 286,280 kilometers for 10,182 trips.
“While MV Adimu Orisa aside moving cargoes and vehicles, has successfully hosted Greater Lagos Valentine Extra, 60th Independence Cruise and many social events and movie production.
“With an impressive safety record, we can proudly tell you that we have never recorded any accident since the agency started commercial operations on the 6th of February, 2020 with professional guidance of our regulators, NIWA and LASWA,”he said.
He commended Sanwo-Olu for doubling the fleets making a total 20 boats including one barge and one utility boat noting that the seating capacity of the 19 passengers boats currently stands at 710.
“This is the first time ever that a sub-national government will be having a record 20 boats in its fleet.
“In the annals of public transportation system in Lagos State, this is the first time we are going to have a total of 20 boats running concurrent commercial operations.
“The current administration of Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is deepening the usage of water transportation by Lagos residents and the Corporate Lagos with procurement and activation of MF Mobolaji Johnson, MF Lateef Jakande, MF Bola Tinubu, MF Babatunde Fashola.
Others are: MF Oba Akiolu, MF Akran, MF Ayangburen, MF Elegushi, MF Apapa, MF Onigando, MF Alausa, MF Itesiwaju, MF Ipakodo, MF Ejirin, MF Majidun, MF Zangbeto, MF Eko Akete, MF Ehingbeti, MF Igbega Eko and the Cargo Barge, MV Adimu Orisa.
Dr Frederic Oladeinde, Commissioner for Transportation, said the development of a robust water system to integrate with other modes was germane to the realization of the Multi Modal Transport System that would meet the transport need of over 22 million people of Lagos State.
Oladeibde said the unveiling of the use of Lagos State Travel Card known as Cowry Card on the water routes would make it possible to use the payment platform across transport modes in the state.
“With the integration of the cowry card to water transportation, just as we have done for our buses, including the First and Last Mile buses, we are entrenching the multimodal transport system of our dear state by making it seamless and affordable just as we have worked tirelessly for it to be a sustainable, efficient, readily accessible, inclusive, and safe transportation,”he said.
Similarly, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, Managing Director, LAMATA, explained that the cowry card was important because it ensured a safe and secure way for every mode of transportation in the state.
Mrs Sairat Braimoh, Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority, commended the Lagos State Government for the laudable project.
Braimoh said that Lagos Ferry is one of the best on the waterways because they are top-notch when it comes to safety and have never recorded any death or mishaps on the waterways.
She appealed to the state government to invest more on cargo movement so as to ease transportation on the roads.
NAN recalls that Lagferry started operations on Feb. 6, 2020. (NAN)