No going back on Okada, Keke ban, Sanwo-Olu insists

• Unveils commercial boat operations

Amid protests over the state government ban on Okada and tricycles popularly called Keke Marwa in some parts of the state, Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, vowed that his government would not reverse its decision for safety reasons.

Lagos, Sanwo Olu, LAGFERRY, Okada ban
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the formal launch of LAGFERRY operations

The governor gave the vow while speaking at the formal launch of LAGFERRY operations, mobile app and commissioning of 14 commercial boats at Badore Ferry Terminal, Ajah.

Sanwo-Olu, while justifying the ban, said that as a responsible government, his administration would not fold its arms and allow security breach in the state.

“Let me tell you about the ban which we just enforced. We will sustain the ban on Okadas and tricycles, mainly because of security and safety reasons. Security and safety of citizens is paramount to any government. As a responsible government, we will not fold our arms and allow any security breach in the state.

“We will continue to ensure the safety of our people on all fronts. There have been reports of serious security breaches and safety concerns in areas where these operators ply. We had to respond to these concerns because life and safety matter to this government,” he said.

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The governor assured that the number of ferry boats would be increased to 30 before the end of the year, disclosing that more than 500 buses would be injected into the state bus transport system to ease transportation problems.

The boats have the capacity to ferry 40 to 60 passengers at a go and will commute passengers from Ikorodu, Ebute Ero, CMS, Badore, and Ikoyi amongst other routes.

Sanwo-Olu said the launch was in fulfilment of his administration’s promise to provide an effective and integrated intermodal transportation system.

The governor pointed out that water transportation was one of the intermodal transportation tripods the state government was committed to developing as a strategy to reduce congestion on its roads which accounts for over 90 per cent of commuting in the state.

He said for Lagos to be a functional smart city desired by all, there must be diversification of the mode of transportation, adding: “There must be interconnectivity of the rail, road and water transportation systems.

“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, to decongest our roads and substantially reduce travel time, promote a healthy environment through reduction of carbon emission,” he further added.

Sanwo-Olu 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.

“In the same vein, we will also sustain cordial relationship with federal regulatory agencies including Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

“We are fully committed to increasing 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,” the governor said.

Speaking further, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the 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.”

“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.

“Let me emphasize that 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,” he assured.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of LAGFERRY, Hon AbdulBaq Ladi Balogun, in his welcome address, said the launch would set the next frontier for Lagos economy and chart a new course for water transportation in the state.

He said Lagos is blessed with at least ten Lagoons and that the government was fully committed to harness the role these Lagoons play “and is capable of playing in the management of traffic and transportation, which incidentally is the first pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda of the Governor.”

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