Ban on Okada, Keke: NIWA LASWA Record High Water Transport Ridership     

The waterways transportation in Lagos state is taking advantage of the ban on bicycles (okada) and tricycle (keke) as many Lagosians now opt for their service, as alternatives.

 The Lagos Area Manager, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Engr. Sarat Braimah in a chat with our correspondent last week confirmed that since the ban on Okada, the state has witnessed more waterways transportation, adding that more people now patronize the jetties as a means to conveniently arrive at  their destination.

According to her, “the ban on Okada has actually helped boost the waterways transportation because a lot of people now use the waterways more as a means to get to their destination, presently we have more patronage at Maroko and more patronage at CMS, and some other parts of the state, more people now prefer to use the waterways transportation” she  confirmed.

Speaking also, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) Mrs. Nkechi Ajayi also confirmed to our reporter  that the state has witnessed more waterways transportation in the last few days, adding that passengers are now complaining that the numbers of boats are no longer enough.

“Yes we have witnessed more ridership since the ban on Okada, the ridership has increased even as the numbers of boats on ground are not enough anymore with some of them complaining that the boats are no longer enough”, she told our correspondent.

She added that with the new quest for water transportation,  LASWA will be able to generate more revenue for the government. 

Recall that the Lagos State Government had last week formally kicked off commercial waterways transportation, with the official launch of eight newly acquired speed boats 

The Governor had said the intervention represented a “great leap” in his administration’s strategy to deliver an effective and integrated inter-modal transportation system in addressing the perennial issue of traffic congestion on the roads.

He said the narrative of transportation in Lagos will change for good, as the state is set to take full advantage of the water bodies to decongest the roads and substantially reduce travel time for commuters.

The Governor said the State would drive full compliance on measures put in place to ensure the safety of commuters using the waterways, adding that the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) was being strengthened to effectively discharge its monitoring and regulatory duties in line with best practice.

Meanwhile, business men, freight forwarders, customs agents, Customs officers including journalists who operate within the Apapa and  Tin Can axis urged the Governor to exclude the axis from the restriction.

The stakeholders who spoke to Shipping Position Daily said since the ban on Okada took effect, it has been difficult for people to access the port.

Lending  his  voice to the debate, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (Ancla) Mr  Kayode Farinto  said the ban on Okada would cripple cargo clearance at the Apapa ports. 

 Farinto said that most agents rode on commercial motorcycles to the ports to clear their cargoes. He added that the agents performed 99% of their ports’ operations by patronising Okada riders, pointing out that they used them when processing the documents meant to clear their goods within a short period to avoid incurring demurrage charges.