Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the Lagos State on Friday inaugurated a first-of-its-kind Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Centre that would enhance activities on the state waterways.
Inaugurating the facility at Falomo, on Friday, Sanwo-Olu said that the establishment of the center would give access to real-time information, and gather data for continuous improvement of the inland waterways.
He said it further demonstrated his commitment to the Greater Lagos project, especially in the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
The governor said one of the key objectives of this pillar was the adoption of the multimodal transport system which basically aimed at developing the water and rail modes of transportation.
He said the adoption of the multimodal transport strategy was to reduce traffic congestion on the roads.
Sanwo-Olu commended the foreign partnerships with the British Government through Future Cities Nigeria and the French Government through the French Developmental Agency.
The governor noted that in the last three and half years, his administration had invested massively in waterways infrastructure and assets to promote water transportation in the state.
He said that the state’s efforts had led to an increase in passenger ridership, improved safety standards, and private sector participation.
“Over the past three years, daily commuter ridership has increased to 43,000 passengers and over 14 million passengers yearly.
“There is also a visible reduction in boat mishaps achieved through our massive intervention in safety equipment and donations of free lifejackets across the 15 LGAs accessible by water.
“Our gathering here today is to further deepen our commitment to the safety of the waterways with the commissioning of a newly established Search and Rescue Unit responsible.
”The unit is established for patrolling and enforcing our waterways rules and regulation.
“So, two additional patrol boats and safety enhancement gadgets such as a D.J.I. Ariel drone, BlueEye Pro drone for underwater searches, and U-SAFE (rescuing gadget).”
Sanwo-Olu said these were all acquired and established to consolidate efforts to make the waterways safer for all users.
He said the state also demonstrated its unparalleled commitment to providing a viable alternative transport solution that would complement other modes: rail and road transport systems.
The governor commended the General Manager, of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), and his team on the progress made so far.
Sanwo-Olu urged them to ensure that this equipment was effectively deployed and operated with the utmost sense of responsibility and professionalism, to enable residents to reap value for paying tax.
Earlier, the General Manager, of LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, said the center consists of a command control, vessel tracking system, radio, and video communication network, and tidal gauge monitoring system.
“This center enables the state to have an intelligent vessel monitoring and management system that allows LASWA to continuously track, monitor, and manage all marine traffic operating along the Lagos state inland waterways.
“The W.M.D.M.C. has a Multi-sensor, multi-layer continuous surveillance with fully integrated fusion. It can detect and track any vessel of any size and type.
“It can identify all boats, automatically monitor vessel activities, and see and alert illegal and suspicious behavior,” he said.
Emmanuel said the governor deserved applause for creating another milestone and delivering on his promises through the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the center gave a full-fledged Search and Rescue Unit and Safety Enhancement Gadgets for aerial and underwater search and rescue.
The Chairman, of Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Transportation, Mr. Adedeji Adewale, said lawmakers had passed the bill for LASWA to punish violators, and they needed the governor’s approval for effective implementation.
Adewale commended the governor and his team to work hard in ensuring the actualization of multimodal transportation in the state.
The Managing Director, of Lagos State Ferry Service Ltd., Mr. Ladi Balogun, commended the Lagos State Government for resuscitating LAGFERRY and purchasing new boats for their operations.
He appreciated the present government for creating a conducive atmosphere for water transporters
The President, of the Association of Tourism Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), Dr. Tanzan Balogun, thanked Sanwo-Olu for rehabilitating some of their jetties and terminals and building new ones.
He commended Sanwo-Olu for the provision of a filling station by the waterways in Falomo, Mile 2, and Ojo as well as the donation of uncountable life jackets to operators.