Sanwo-Olu, Senate seek partnership on water transportation

The Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Senate have opened engagement to promote water transportation in the state.

On Thursday, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, mentioned the need for the federal and state governments to be on the same page on waterways.

Sanwo-Olu assured all that the state government will continue to improve and enhance its working relationship with the Federal Government authority, the National Inland Waterways Authority.

According to him, the state Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure was set up to put in place the right and needed infrastructure around waterways in the State, and therefore urged NIWA to be on the same page with the State Government.

Sanwo-Olu spoke during the working and courtesy visit of the Senate Committee on Marine Transportation and Blue Economy led by its Chairman, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, at Lagos House, Ikeja, on Thursday.

“We see ourselves as partners with NIWA on waterways. We are committed, and we believe that they are equally committed. The only area in which we need to strengthen our relationship is the sand filling and approval on sand filling. Let us be on the same page. We can continue to improve and enhance the working relationship between us and NIWA,” the governor said.

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Sanwo-Olu, while highlighting landmark achievements by the Lagos State Government on the blue economy and water transportation, said his administration would soon introduce electric boats to water transportation, among other interventions in its bid to enhance marine ecosystems and reduce travel time.

He said, “About a month ago, we launched an additional brand new 15 ferry boats with about 40 passengers each for water transportation. The boats were fabricated and completed here in Lagos. We have launched and handed them over to the operators to ease water transportation.

“We just did ground-breaking work for two iconic projects that would be by the waterfronts; Lagos-Marina Inter-Change. It is an interchange that would harbour water transportation, rail transportation, and bus rapid transportation. We are doing another one at Mile 2, which will also be for water, rail, and bus interchange stations.

“These are landmark projects that will not only change the face of water, and marine transportation in Lagos but will also enhance social economic activities, the movement of people from one part of the city to another, and reduce travel time by 60 to 70 per cent. NIWA is aware of all the projects because we have been collaborating with them.

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“We are working on the Omi-Eko Water Project. The Omi-Eko Water Project is a well-thought-out project that will run for the next four to five years. It is going to enhance water transportation. We are going to build additional water jetties. We are going to be buying electric boats—100/120 passenger boats. We are going to improve security on the waterways. We are going to enhance a Command and Control Centre on the waterways.”

Speaking earlier, Eshinlokun-Sanni called for collaboration between the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government to drive social economy and commercial activities on waterways.

He said his committee was in Lagos for a working visit, and the Senators deemed it fit to pay a courtesy visit to Governor Sanwo-Olu before carrying out their oversight functions.

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Eshinlokun-Sanni said NIWA is very critical to Lagos State, noting that the Senate Committee on Marine Transportation and Blue Economy wants a mutually beneficial relationship between the Federal Government and Lagos State.

“We are here to look at how NIWA is doing and to see the area of cooperation with the Lagos State Government because of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court.

“We want to see how NIWA will enjoy a good relationship with the Lagos State Government without acrimony because we are the same government as the APC, and most importantly, the father of the nation is from Lagos State. We are not here to witch-hunt; we are here to work with you and the people of Lagos State and Nigeria,” he said.

The committee also visited the NIWA office at Marina and reclamation works under the regulations of the Inland waterways at Orange Island, Ostia Island, and Exomozel Island within the Lagos Lagoon.

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