The Lagos State Government has appealed to stakeholders to invest in ferry services to improve water transportation in the state.
The Managing Director, Lagos Ferry Services (Lagferry), Mr Ladi Balogun, made the plea during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Ojo Local Government Area in Lagos on Tuesday.
Balogun said the state government, under the leadership of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had purchased additional seven ferries to promote water transport in the state.
“Since the commencement of the Lagferry operation in February 2020, we have been operating from Ebute in Ikorodu, Ojo, Liverpool Apapa, CMS – Apapa to Ebute-Ero, and we need to increase our ridership.
“We need to improve advocacy and more people should be aware that we are committed and the effort of the governor for improving water transport and usage in Lagos.
“Government cannot do it alone because to satisfy 20 million Lagos residents is not so easy by the government.
“That is why we need resources mobilisation by the private sector to collaborate with government to reduce use of road transportation,” he said.
Balogun said the sensitisation exercise would improve attitude of Lagos residents towards water transport.
The Operations Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Ibrahim Fahm, said that the state government had restricted water transport movement from 6a.m. to 6p.m. to improve the safety of ferry passenger.
Fahm, who represented the General Manager, LASWA, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said government banned night travels on waterways because most of the boats do not have two operating engine and other navigational equipment.
Emmanuel said that non availability of related equipment could also lead to boat capsize, promising to extend clearing of water hyacinth to other areas in the state.
The Chairman, Ojo Local Government, Mr Rasulu Idowu, assured Lagferry management of the council’s support in spreading the awareness among Ojo residents to improve patronage of water transportation.
Idowu said he would encourage stakeholders from Ojo to invest in water transport to help in reducing road usage.
He also called for use of more barges to take trucks off Ojo axis.
Dr Ogo Ugboma, School of Transport, Lagos State University (LASU), said she spent more than six hours on the road from Festac Town to the institution, which is just six kilometers away.
Ugboma commended the state government for introducing LAGFERRY which spent less than 20 minutes from Mile 2 to Ojo.
She said that from her research, more than eight million commuters ply Lagos roads on daily basis.
The Secretary of the Student Union of LASU Students’ Union, Mr Isaiah Kuku pleaded with the government to reduce the ferry fares to enable students across the state to use the water transport and avoid lateness to school.
The Olosu of Osolu Kingdom, Oba Abideen Durosimi, urged government to train canoe operators in the area for employment as ferry captains and Deckhand