As part of efforts to ensure passengers safety on Lagos waterways, the Elegushi of Ikate Kingdom, Oba Saheed Elegushi and members of the Rotary Club of Lagos at separate events made donations of life jackets to the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY).
In his remarks during the presentation of the life jackets at the Five Cowries Terminal Ikoyi, the Lagos Monarch, represented by the Aro Oba of Ikate Kingdom, Chief Olalekan Bakare, stated that the gesture was intended by the king to complement the government's efforts to ensure the safety of boat passengers and ease pressure on transportation by road.
He said: "It is obvious what the administration of Mr. Governor and the Managing Director of LAGFERRY are doing with the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda in making sure that they ease transportation in Lagos State. The time is very ripe for us to be exploring our waterways and decongesting the road".
While informing that water transportation is still the best, fastest and safest means of alternate transport, he commended the State government for ensuring compliance to waterways safety regulations of compulsory wearing of life jackets and operating at regulated hours.
Similarly, the representative of the Rotary Club of Nigeria, Rotarian Tosin Olabintan, during the donation of 40 life jackets to the Agency, stated that many commuters go through a lot of stress on the road daily while commuting from their home to their places of work, adding it is not healthy to inhale the smoke coming out of vehicles during traffic gridlock for many hours on some roads.
"It is in view of this that the State Government has provided an alternative to citizens of Lagos State to travel on Waterways, which is healthier than plying the roads. Water transportation is faster and less stressful because in a couple of minutes you have reached your destination as there is nothing like a traffic jam", he said.
Olabintan urged ferry operators to ensure that all their passengers put on life jackets before using the ferry, promising that the gesture would be extended to other ferry stations.
In his response, the Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Mr. Abdoulbaq Ladi-Balogun, said the support of more companies would further encourage water transportation to enable them decongest the traffic on the road.
He said that the commitment and passion displayed by the Rotary Club and the Traditional Ruler would enable the management to be proactive in its duties saying, "We sincerely appreciate the life jackets donated by Oba Elegushi and the Rotary Club of Nigeria. The gestures have shown that people are really watching our operation".
Ladi-Balogun said that LAGFERRY had never been involved in any water accident since two years of operation, adding that the support via the donations would reinforce the fact that the government prioritises safety in the Agency’s daily operations.
While encouraging other Monarchs and Corporate organisations to key into the laudable initiatives, the Managing Director informed that before the commencement of LAGFERRY operations, the contribution of water transportation in Lagos stood at 0.8 per cent, but it has now increased to 3.8 per cent.