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Water transportation: Sanwo-Olu inaugurates 8 locally-made ferries

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The newly procured boats at Badore Ferry Terminal, Ajah, Eti-Osa in Lagos on Tuesday.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos on Tuesday officially inaugurated eight new locally-made boats to enhance water transportation across the state.

Speaking during the inauguration in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu noted that the eight ferries were to complement the existing six being operated by the Lagos Ferry Service (LAGFERRY).

“Today, history is being made as the efforts of our administration towards delivering on our promise to provide effective and integrated intermodal transportation system is being fulfilled.

”We are gathered here to witness the launch of a major programme that is a key component of the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

”Let me emphasise that these boats were constructed here by our local builders and they come with state-of-the-art technology you can find anywhere else in the world.

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”We are proud of this feat and I am using this medium to once again assure our local builders of patronage and urge them to continue to maintain international best standard.

”With capacity of each of the new boats to ferry 40 to 60 passengers at a go, the ferry boats we are launching today will commute passengers from Ikorodu, Ebute Ero, CMS, Badore and Ikoyi, amongst other routes,” he said.

The governor said that water transportation was one of the intermodal transportation tripods his administration was committed to developing.

This, he reiterated, was a strategy to reduce road congestion as the road accounted for over 90 per cent of commuting in Lagos State.

According to him, it is glaring that for Lagos to be a functional smart city, there must be diversification of the mode of transportation.

He said that there must be interconnectivity of the rail, road and water transportation systems.

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”However, the narrative of water transportation in Lagos State is set to change as we are set to take full advantage of the water bodies that nature has endowed us with,

”We are set to take advantage of the water bodies to decongest our roads and substantially reduce travel time, promote a healthy environment through reduction of carbon emission,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He assured that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure safety on the waterways through the empowerment of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to effectively discharge its monitoring and regulatory duties.

The governor said that his administration was fully committed to increase investment in the development of more routes on the waterways, construction of more jetties and provision of more modern ferry boats.

“There is room for more private sector participation in water transportation as we continue to provide more facilities and ensure full compliance with safety regulations.

“’Intermodal transportation is the way to go, given our natural endowment, increasing population and the need to ensure efficient movement of materials, goods, services and people.

‘“By the time the Lagos light rail project becomes effective and expanded, coupled with renewed efforts to improve water transportation in addition to numerous on-going roads development projects across the state, it is expected that a more robust public transportation would evolve in the state and Lagosians would be the better for it.’’.

The Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Mr Abdulbaq Ladi-Balogun, said that Lagos, the smallest, most densely populated and most cosmopolitan state in Nigeria, has about 10 lagoons, with the Lagos and Lekki Lagoons being the major ones.

Ladi-Balogun said that the others were Yewa, Badagry, Ologe, Iyagbe, Kuramo, Apese, Epe and Mahin lagoons.

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He said that the Lagos lagoon was fed by several rivers, the most important of which were the Ogun, Ona/Ibu, Oshun, Shasha and Oni.

According to him, with over 30 jetties, there is no reason why Lagos should not diversify its mode of transportation.

”For instance, it takes less than seven minutes to cross from Ijede in Ikorodu to Badore while from Baiyeku to Langbasa it is about 15 minutes.

”The journey of about two and half hours on a good day from Ipakodo to Ikoyi takes less than sixty minutes from the Ipakodo Ferry Terminal.

”All our boats are built with comfortable seats and equipped with modern day technology like in built wifi system, on board entertainment system, charging points and are tracked real time to ensure safety of boats and passengers.

”With our global water transportation licence, LAGFERRY will operate on all the waterways routes in Lagos State, although, in gradual phases according to the available capacity,” he said.

Ladi-Balogun said that to ease ticketing and payment system, LAGFERRY planned to operate a scheduled water transportation services with online/offline ticket bookings.

He said that it had created and developed an application to enhance its ticketing and payment system.

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