Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday pledged to develop water transportation as a way of tackling the problem of traffic gridlock across Lagos metropolis and easing the stress of residents.
Ambode, who was represented by Mr Ade Akinsanya, Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, made the pledge at the first Annual Stakeholders’ Forum organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Lagos.
He said the water transport mode, which was a critical part of the intermodal transportation system of the government, would be developed with international best practices.
“I am happy that the forum is taking place at a time when one of the critical challenges facing the state is how to move citizens efficiently and effectively and improve the capacity of the various modes of transportation for the benefit of the people.
“Just as other cities across the world, Lagos State is facing the challenge of rapid urbanisation due to the growing influx of people into the state.
“As such, there is the need to ensure provision of infrastructure that extends beyond the present generation.
“To ensure a safe, secure and prosperous Lagos State, there is the need for the establishment of appropriate standards and regulations in line with international best practices, towards the much needed implementation of water transport in the State.
“These standards and regulations will be executed by LASWA in terms of licensing, registration and enforcement of vessels plying the state’s waterways with a strict adherence to compliance,” the governor said.
Ambode urged stakeholders to come up with ideas on how to develop and maintain the waterways in line with best practices.
He also urged existing and potential investors to increase patronage of water transport in Lagos.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Dayo Mobereola, also said at the event that over 99 per cent of commercial bus drivers, popularly called ‘Danfo Drivers’, were hypertensive.
Mobereola, represented by Dr Olufemi Salam, Director of Transportation, Planning, Policy and Coordination, said that the health challenge was as a result of the issues associated with traffic congestion and pollution of the environment.
According to him, the ministry got the statistics about two years ago after conducting a survey.
In her remarks, Mrs Abisola Kamson, Managing Director of LASWA, urged residents to embrace water transportation as it was cheaper, safer and faster.
Kamson said that LASWA had decided to come up with water transport regulations and enforce them in line with international best practices.
She said that this was in line with Gov. Ambode’s vision to develop other modes of transportation.