BY DOTUN IBIWOYE
The advantage of Lagos being located along the coastline has not been fully utilised because the waterway has not really been developed and the water transportation is still in its rudimentary stage.
In a place with over 20 million inhabitants, the water transportation needs to be more attractive to reduce road transportation prone to gridlock, which is one of the major issues of the magacity
Although the state government has improved some jetties recently, several still remain unattractive, unsafe and might not have available passengers and investors soon.
There are 59 jetties all over Lagos but more emphasis is laid on the mega jetties such as Mile 2, Ikorodu and Badore.
When Vanguard asked about poor development, the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, Head of Operations, Mr Tayo Gbajumo, said that the development of all the jetties an on-going process and the other jetties will be developed.
According to him: “We all know that development of the jetties require fund and time. It is an on-going process. The jetties are being developed phase by phase. Some require renovation while others needs to be rebuilt. The recent include: Epeme and Iya Afin jetties Oke Afa-Mile 2 , Ikorodu-Badore via Oreta, Baiyeku-Ijede, Ikorodu-Osborne, and others in addition to dredging ferry routes, so we are not relegating any jetty. All the jetties in this state are important to us.
“There are 59 jetties around Lagos. I cannot specifically say when the all the jetties will be fully developed and renovated, but the on going process will not stop.
“Whenever we finish work in an area we move to another area. When we move to Epe area we know we are going to develop all the jetties in that area. When we move to Falomo, we know that we will develop the jetties in its environ.
A resident of Ijanikin area of Lagos , Toluwani Akinfenwa, whose business is located at Ibeche Island, in Ojo local government and the mode of transportation is water, was aggrieved with the authorities.
For Akinfenwa; “When the jetties are so bad how can I be confident about employing more hands? How will I make profit? The waterway is also filled with water hyacinth. Sometimes we spend up to two hours in a day cutting them. The only way to my own work place is by water. I can’t fly so I have to go through all this every day. The government needs to help us.
Phillip Ubong who lives in Ijora: “At least there is a jetty. That is the first stage, development is another stage that we are expecting. So far the waterway is safe from armed robbers I dont have a problem. I use the jetty in my area three times in a week. The jetty in my area is not good enough.
Recently, the the Managing Director, LASWA, Yinka Marinho, said about 1. 8 million people now travel on Lagos waterways every month and the pressure on the services being rendered by ferry operators in the state was as a result of increase in patronage of water transport systems.
Marinho noted that as a result of this development, the state government is encouraging more private operators to come in.
“We now have an average of 1.8 million people travelling on our waterways every month and this has caused more demand for the operators that we have. To that effect, the state itself is starting a ferry service with the Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation, while it is also renovating five aluminum vessels with 80-seater capacity each, he said
“With this, the capacity of vessels in the waterways will increase considerably, while more operators are also starting operations. These efforts will try to jumpstart the process of having bigger vessels on the waterways and add more capacity to the movement of people along the waterways.’
He added: “We have a well trained team that performs rescue operations on our waterways, while our emergency numbers are out there with the operators who can call us anytime in case of emergencies,’ ’
Ferry service in Lagos State started in the 1970s when Lagos was still the federal capital. The effective and efficient service run by the corporation has still continued to be a reference point in the state well over 25 years after.
The State Ferry Service Corporation is no more in operation as the National Inland Waterways Authority Act (Repeal) Law 2008 created the Lagos State Waterways Authority, which is already functional with a supervisory board inaugurated by Governor Fashola to monitor the private operators and ensure they operate within the provisions of the Inland Waterways Law.