How can the waterways in Lagos be fabricated safe and finer utilised? These are the questions that begged for anwsers all through a stakeholders’ appointment which set out to distill account on how to reposition the sector, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE.
The Lagos Accompaniment Government and stakeholders at a appointment on the waterways agreed that the breadth had, for far too long, been comatose.
Since the Second Republic, aback above Governor Lateef Kayode Jakande intoduced in the accompaniment the Baba Kekere and Ita Faji ferries, which brought a new charter of activity to bodies in abounding littoral communities forth the state’s coastline, abnormally about Mile 2 to Marina, Ipakodo and Ebute in Ikorodu. Lagosians are afraid because the accomplishment accomplished by the accompaniment in the 80s was larboard to rot.
From a breadth that hit about three actor commuter cartage yearly, up to the backward 80s, the waterways cartage has alone to about one actor commuter per annum, with hardly any attendance whatsoever in goods/cargo freighting.
But Governor Akinwunmi Ambode seems set to comedy big in waterways transportation. With 54 percent of its accumulation covered by water, the accompaniment has a actual able allusive advantage.
At the stakeholders appointment aftermost week, government sources said the governor is angled to carbon his banner on the waterways, as he accomplished apparent success on the road.
The charge for the accompaniment to deepen its captivation in the waterways is not far-fetched.
With a citizenry put by the state’s Director of Transport Policy Dr Taiwo Salam, at 25 million, Lagos, arguably, is bigger than countries such as Ireland with a citizenry of (4.773 million), New Zealand (4.693 million), or Australia (24.13 million), or some West African countries such as Togo (7.606 million) or Cote d’Ivoire (23.7 million), acceptance tagging abaft Ghana with a citizenry of 28.21 million.
However, while best of these countries accept out-paced Lagos with able-bodied and advancing inter-modal transportation, (road, air and water), Lagos is still angry to basic bureau with 95 percent of appurtenances and commuter cartage relying on road.
According to statistics from the Lagos Metropolitan Breadth Transport Authority, (LAMATA), while the alley aspect charcoal the heaviest and best accepted bureau of transportation, waterways, acceptance its huge potential, accounts for about one percent commuter cartage in the state.
The aftereffect is a arresting circadian cartage congestion, which is gradually authoritative campaign on the accompaniment anchorage a nightmare. For instance, Apapa, a breathtaking breadth up till backward 90s, has become a extraordinary breadth as because of cartage bottleneck that saw bumper-to-bumper parking of containerised trailers and petroleum tankers on every inch of anchorage in the area, additionally addition from the Apapa ports up to Ikorodu Road.
To abate the roads, the added modes of transportation, abnormally the waterways, the government said, charge work; and to work, the government charge accept able ascendancy of the waterways. That was the bulletin of Lagos Accompaniment Waterways Authority (LASWA) Managing Director Oluwadamilola Emmanuel.
Emmanuel said the bureau had been burdened from breeding apparent acquirement aback a High Cloister impeded its captain in March, 2014, until the acumen was set a in July, this year; a adjudication that was accurate by addition Federal High Cloister aftermost Friday.
Emmanuel said the appointment was to boom stakeholders abutment for a “safe, apple-pie and affluent waterways.
According to the LASWA chief, government is not absorbed in active any abettor out of business. But all operators charge abide to abutment it and accompany calmly with it to body a beefcake sector.
“LASWA as the civil waterways regulator for Lagos Accompaniment would abide its role of ensuring assurance and the administration of the assorted initiatives and interventions of the government on the waterways, acceptance its not been able to accomplish abundant acquirement due to cloister injunctions,” he said.
Emmanuel ability aloof accept taken the captain off the wings of abounding stakeholders, who had besieged the forum, assertive the government was angled on active them out of business.
“Whatever the government capital to do, let it appear with a animal face as these operators are amenable associates of the association and accept been accidental to the development of the accompaniment in their own ways,” a baiter operator, High Arch Wellington Ilori-Ajigbulu, said.
Ilori-Ajigbulu was responding to hints by Emmanuel that the bureau would anon commence on an analysis of boats, canoes and ferries operating on the waterways.
“There are minimum standards that we would not compromise. If you charge accomplish on our waterways, you charge accede by accepting lighting systems, accept abundant activity jackets for your passengers, accept a anatomic and baptize aces (as adjoin alley worthy) argosy and accept abundant operators to handle your operations.”
He said the bureau would not discount any operator’s infractions; “If your baiter is not fit, we would not alternate to booty you off the waterways so that you don’t endanger the lives of added Lagosians. Government is ailing of accidents that action on our waterways as a aftereffect of preventable hazards.”
Emmanuel insisted operators charge accession their standards and new entrants charge advance the accustomed standards, as the government capital a acceptable development of its waterways.
Admitting that the breadth is anytime changing, Emmanuel said the onus was on operators to accompany calmly with the government, which would continuously assignment appear creating the appropriate ambiance for operators to advance and flourish, while operators should abutment by advantageous requisite ante and fees to the accompaniment government.
LASWA, he said, has amorphous regularisation to abduction the database of operators on the waterways.
“Stakeholders should appear to us, we charge all your data, it is not alone about money, we appetite to appoint you to move the baptize breadth forward. We appeal you to appear and regularise your membership,” he said.
The Director-General, Lagos Accompaniment Assurance Commission, Mr Hakeem Dickson, apprenticed operators to annals their boats with the government.
He said boats operating would be accustomed cardinal plates. “Any abettor after a cardinal bowl is actionable and should be taken off the waterways.”
He empiric that bowl numbers would advice advance assurance on baptize as boats could be tracked easily, and additionally abetment in abbreviation the challenges encountered in accepting allowance for their operations. He appear that discussions were advancing about its introduction.
He additionally appealed to baiter and bear operators to ensure that their cartage abrasion activity anorak and abstain overloading to abstain blow on the waterways.
General Manager, Lagos Accompaniment Emergency Management Bureau (LASEMA), Adesina Tiamiyu, said the bureau had been able-bodied able to action emergency anywhere in the state.
Harping on the charge for stakeholders to embrace assurance standard, Tiamiyu said with two Jet skis and a abyssal assemblage accustomed by LASEMA, the emergency responder is able to be added affianced in emergency activities alike on the waterways.
The LASEMA arch apprenticed operators and cartage application the waterways to be assurance acquainted and arm themselves with the emergency numbers 112 and 767, in case of any blow on the baptize or off it.
Chairman, Lagos Accompaniment Bear Services, Paul Kalejaiye declared that government’s charge to developing the waterways was irreversible, as it remained the alone way to “move the accompaniment from a mega burghal to a acute city.”
He criticised the National Civil Waterways (NIWA), for battling a cloister acumen cardinal which was in Lagos’ favour with the accompaniment government, aloof because of the money it capital to accomplish rather than actuality acquainted of the assurance of operators and the passengers.
Kalejaiye said for able bear account in the state’s waterways, at atomic 1,000 ferries were bare to aback cartage to and from their destinations beyond the state.
Though acceptance that government has no business actuality in business, Kalejaiye about said government would be advance in the acquirement of avant-garde ferries in adjustment to set accepted for all operators adulatory to accomplish bear casework in the state.
Though the government had in the acting alien four such ferries, it, is about adorable inwards abnormally to the enactment of a baiter accomplishment close at Epe, area according to him a ample tranche of acreage had been acquired by the government and assignment would alpha in earnest.
“The accompaniment government cerebration advanced is already envisaging a advancing industry and has acquired a ample bindle of acreage at Epe for the architecture of boats, barges and ferries for bounded use.”
Chairman of baiter operators in the accompaniment Mr Ganiu Tarzan commended the government for advancing up with affairs to body boats locally. He said bounded producers abound in Ajegunnle, Epe and Ikorodu, that can aftermath fibre argosy and boats, abacus that such industry would drive added accord in the baptize busline sector.
Tarzan said: “You can brainstorm if boats and ferries are produced locally. A huge abridgement can be jumpstarted as all bank states would activate to attending appear Lagos to acquirement sea aces boats. Again, you conserve adopted barter and blast the aerial amount of accepting acceptable boats. Appropriate now, one sea faring baiter with acceptable engines could amount amid N5 to N8 million. I bought one for N10 million. All this could be brought bottomward with government advancing up with affairs to abutment operators who can anatomy accommodating association with loans.”
Kalejaiye said the baiter architecture action is aloof one of the several initiatives of the government to activate the sector. He said government has articular 13 baptize routes, seven of which are actuality dredged while channelization is additionally advancing on others.
Government, according to the Lagsferry boss, may access added baptize hyacinth machines to action the annoyance beyond the state, alike as he appear that government is architecture several jetties and interchanges in its bid to accomplish baptize busline advantageous and attractive. To animate night campaign on the water, government, he added would anon commence on lighting up the routes.
He said the government would acknowledgment the active of some of the routes to clandestine operators alike as LagsFerry which would anon move its arch appointment aback to Mile 2, would abide to be the regulator of all equipments on its waterways to ensure the assurance of all operators, appurtenances and passengers.
Kalejaiye is assured that Lagosians haven’t apparent annihilation yet on baptize transportation.
Only time would acquaint if these interventions would ster a people’s billowing aplomb in a breadth fabricated alarming in contempo time by accidental fatalities.
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