Mr Abdoulbaq Balogun, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY), says Lagos State is tapping into the huge potential that abounds in the waterways.
Balogun said this at the Exclusively Lagos Love Waterways edition with live viewing of the final football match of the African Cup of Nations organised by LAGFERRY on Sunday in Lagos.
According to him, the waterways is the best option when it comes to transportation and the best mode of transportation all over the world.
He added that the waterways remains the safest option of transportation when compared with air, water, road and rail.
Balogun said that God blessed Lagos State with water bodies, noting that one third of Lagos landmass is covered with water.
“The potential is so huge and one of the things we can do by water is what we are doing today, having a social event on the water, tomorrow it can be cargo movement and next can be people moving from one place to another.
“We can actually transverse the entire Lagos State by getting through the waterways and that is what Lagos State is demonstrating to the entire world.
“If we also look at it very well, it is part of the transformation agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“The first cardinal pillar of development is letter T and that stands for traffic management and transportation, what we are doing today carries the letter T.
“What we are doing today also carries the letter E, that is the fifth pillar of the cardinal development and that is entertainment, sports and tourism,” he said.
He said the agency would make Lagos State a 24th century state.
Balogun also appreciated Sanwo-Olu for creating an enabling environment for tourists, and people that want to make use of the waterways.
He pointed out that the event was organised to support the Super Eagles to bring the trophy home.
“This is an indoor event in an outdoor, we are on the boat, barge and the boat is sailing along the five cowries creek, this is water tourism that Lagos has started.
“In achieving this, many things were considered before we got people on board, and there are so many people onboard today because they have confidence in us and they are assured of their safety, they trust us.
“So, when it comes to security, we have the Navy and the marine police partnering with us today and also the regulator, the Lagos State Waterways Authority are here, and also, everyone wearing their life jackets,” he said.
He added that a lot of safety parameters were put in place to ensure safety.
He noted that in other climes people pay a lot of money in dollars to watch football.
“Now, we are putting this in your bus-stop, come and see what is happening in Dubai, London, Turkey, in Norway, all over the world, come and see, its happening here in Lagos, courtesy of the governor,” he said.
He said that compared to when they started operations, they had seen a lot of Lagosians embracing the waterways.
“We have other states coming to Lagos to compare what we have here and see how they can translate it to action in their respective states.
“It’s because we have been able to come out with ideas and various initiatives to move the people and the cargo to places in Lagos State through the waterways,” he said.
On the blue economy, he said that it would aid economic growth and development if property harnessed.
He added that this was what the Lagos State had meticulously and deliberately developed over the years.
Balogun said the blue print was contained in the Strategic Transportation Master Plan of 2002 when Bola Tinubu was the governor of the state.