By DAPO OLAWUNI
In order to addres challenges of siltation, flooding, as well as solid wastes along the ferry channels around communities in the Ajegunle area of Lagos, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Thursday received control of a newly constructed Jetty at the Tin Can Island Port.
The Jetty, a Federal Government intervention project, was executed through the Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, for the benefit of NIWA in Lagos State.
While commissioning the Jetty, Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora said the project was approved in the fourth quarter of 2018 with the aim of addressing the menace of pollution and siltation which has been a major problem hampering water transportation in some of the ferry routes in Lagos state.
According to him, this intervention by the Federal Government on the construction of the Jetty would bring about a huge relief and assuage the fear of menace of erosion and other ecological challenges in the Tin Can area.
Speaking, Senator Mamora said “The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) identified the CMS MILE 2 as the busiest route of ferry services, but for the high pollution rate, Flooding along the river banks as well as siltation along the ferry channel. These challenges have negatively affected ferry services as marine litters and the shallow channels have made service operators to avoid these ferry routes”
“The dream however is to resuscitate, upgrade existing jetties and make the ferry route operational through the removal of silt and solid wastes along the ferry channels which of course is in line with international best practices”
“It was estimated that about an average of six (6) million commuters transit from the Lagos mainland to Lagos island daily, Which equally takes travel time of about three (3) hours, whereas, ferry transportation through the Inland Waterways will take thirty (30) minutes to reach the destination. and these means of transportation will equally take take off about two (2) million commuters from the Lagos gridlock”
“I feel honored with this invitation as the Special Guest of Honour not only because the project is dear to the people of Lagos state, but also because it is in keeping faith with the present administration’s promise that no part of the country will suffer any neglect owing to its geographical location or political consideration” he said
Also speaking, Managing Director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu said the IKo community are the major beneficiary of this project by the Federal Government.
While addressing the community leaders who graced the commissioning, Moghalu said “I want to appeal to you to please see this project as your project, manage it, protect it, because one thing we have noticed is that despite the limited resources available to government, it develops project but people disregard and mismanage them, at the end of the day turn back to blame the government
“We have received enough support from the government of the day, so it is the desire of government to make water transportation, particularly inland water transportation a means of choice for movement of goods and services”
Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary of Ecological Fund Office (EFO) Dr Habiba Lawal said the Federal Government received a lot of requests regarding the need and desirability of embarking on the project as a result of imminent danger posed by the devastating recurring erosion and flooding that have being threatening the lives and property of these Communities.
He said the risk of shoreline erosion and its negative consequences necessitated the prompt intervention of the Federal Government in effecting a holistic approach to the control and flooding that would stand the test of time and address the issue of shoreline erosion menace caused by high ocean current/tidal waves over the years.
“It is our conviction that this project intervention will provide succor to the communities whose lives and properties were in danger.
“EFO entrenched a new tradition of organizing in collaboration with the host Community a befitting ceremony for the commissioning and handing over of its project; this singular act will serve a dual purpose of taking ownership of the project and ensuring its sustainability” he said