Lagos Takes over Inland Waterways, Dislodge Ferry Operators

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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode
  •  Creates 30 routes to boost intermodal transportation

Gboyega Akinsanmi

In a successful attempt to enforce the judgment of a Lagos Court of Appeal, the Lagos State Government has taken over its inland waterways, dislodging illegal ferry operators and prohibiting unlawful jetty operation within its jurisdiction.

The state government has also created 30 dedicated routes for ferry operations in line with the vision of the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to develop water transportation sector and boost inter-modal transportation.

The Managing Director of the State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, yesterday disclosed this at a session with journalists after clamping down on jetty and ferry operators working at variance with the LASWA Law, 2008.

During the session, Emmanuel noted that the state government clamped down on illegal jetty and boat operators in the state as part of measures “to stem the tide of boat mishaps often caused by illegal operations on the inland waterways.”

He added that the state government had started strict enforcement in all parts of the state, noting that it would ensure that all operators adhere to the safety standards.
He explained: “Being a developing sector, one of the things that LASWA has had to do is to be very strict on enforcement. Enforcement is going to be an ongoing thing because you would constantly have those people who are going to default.

“In terms of clamping down on jetties that are substandard is something that LASWA has been looking to go round the state to clamp down on illegal jetties.”

While the state government was working round the clock to improve the sector for optimal performance, he explained the core objective of LASWA “is to ensure that safety, being a key feature of water transportation is not compromised.”

He said the safety of passengers getting on a boat was far beyond wearing life jackets, stressing that it was important to also ensure that the jetty or boat operator had put other safety measures before embarking on any journey.

“For us, in LASWA, safety is really our culture. One of the things we promote in the last few years is the wearing of life jackets. If you go across the inland waterways you will find minimal people who would not comply, most people are generally aware that they should wear their life jacket.
“The very first thing one should note is the kind of jetty they are getting on, first of all is it a substandard jetty, is it a state approved jetty, does the jetty have any issue and then even if they are getting on a boat, which boat am I getting into? The life jacket; is it ripped, does it have any damage?

“Then who is the captain of the vessel? These are the things that any person intending to cross from one jetty to another need to take into consideration before embarking on any vessel”, the managing director explained.
Emmanuel said that the Ambode administration had resolved “to create 30 dedicated routes for boat operators to boost inter-modal transportation. Four routes were currently being dredged and would be channelized between now and the first quarter of next year, noting that the process would be in phases.”

After channelling the routes, the managing director said the state government “will upgrade existing jetties and building new ones. We currently oversee 26 jetties spread across the 20 local governments with water guard corps stationed in the jetties to ensure safety.”

Subsequently, he noted that the state government would register the boats “to make sure that we have a data base of all the boats that are currently plying the waterways, to find out if they are safe and if they should be on our waterways.”