Fashola Interacts with Major Stakeholders on State’s Transportation Policy, Task National regulator on Haulage Safety
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola( SAN) on Friday had an interactive session with major stakeholders in the transportation sector, reiterating his call for the prescription of minimum standard of safety for vehicles conveying cargo in and out of the nation’s Ports.
The Governor who spoke at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, venue of an interactive session “An evening with Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN)”, while reacting to questions from members of a four-man panel comprising critical Stakeholders in the transport sector said the regulating authorities must ensure that it is either such vehicles are built to safety specifications or not allowed to load cargo.
The Governor said he has written to the Ministry of Transportation through the Ministry of Finance which regulates operations at the ports to ensure that any vehicles without fasteners are not allowed to load at the Ports.
He said the fact that several of such trucks still ply the roads without fasteners is a reflection of how serious the Nigerian authorities are about safety, adding that as a state government, Lagos State has little or no control on how the containers are loaded at the Ports and that it is only when they get on the roads which are municipal that he could have a say.
“For us it is an issue. There must be minimum standard of safety for vehicles conveying cargo in and out of our ports and the same applies to those that carry fuel. if we assert that they have not been built to specification, we should say clearly that they are not safe to load cargo”.
“Let me say clearly that there is no city state in the world that moves the kind of cargo that we move on a daily basis that can have the type of roads that we want. The tonnage is just too severe. When you see roads lasting for a few years, this government is performing wonders”.
The Governor said for the present administration it is important that transportation is efficient; adding that part of the ways to make transportation efficient is for everyone to realize that no single person can have the road but should be seen as a shared asset.
He said the moment people realize that roads are assets which must be shared and that if one has no business on the road, he should not ply as it is better to make use of the phone or other alternatives instead of getting on the road.
Governor Fashola who also spoke about water transportation said the State Government has completed work on the Badore and Ipakodo Jetties which have been built to not only ferry vehicles across while work would soon be completed on the Osborne Jetty.
He said the Jetties also have provisions for bus shelters and taxi parks so that as people alight they can take taxis or buses to their various destinations while those who have had their vehicles ferried across can drive off.
He informed that the Mile Two Terminus has now been fully refurbished and six ferries bought during the administration of Alhaji Lateef Jakande which are made of Aluminum have been fully rehabilitated and would be back towards the end of the year.
The Governor gave a commitment that the licensing of private owners to have franchise to manage the terminals is one of the various means of giving relief to people seeking to cross from the Mainland to the Island.
He added that in the rural areas, there are no less than 15 landing ports while currently the monthly passenger volume is 1.5 million and will increase considerably as more of the jetties come into full operation.
As he said, in terms of safety, the State has created the Lagos State Waterways\ Authority to act as first responders on water adding that one of the effects of their activity is that today in Lagos there is hardly any operator on the Lagos waterways who does not make use of life jackets.
He said the state has also developed the capacity of the Marine Police to protect the waterways just as there are about 300 waste managers who are daily responsible for cleaning the waterways safe water transportation and making the Lagos lagoon very clean.
On noticeable traffic congestion in some parts of the State, the Governor said in some parts of Lagos what has been happening is that government fulfilling its electoral promises by constructing roads and in such instances there are bound to be traffic congestions, adding that last year, government built over 193 roads while this year about 104 roads are being built towards making things better.
Responding to a question on why Lagos is becoming more urbanized, the Governor said since
he became Governor he has been catering for 18 million as against the 9million purportedly registered during the last national Census exercise.
“Since I became Governor I have been budgeting for 18 million people. More people have
moved to the urban centres which is a huge burden for every government”, he said, adding that it is not his fault that Lagos has a large population but that the people also have a role to play in putting a restraint on their productive capacity.
Responding to a question on the essential components of the State’s transport policy the Governor said the best way to summarise it is to describe it as a multi-modal transport policy manifesting in some of the agencies like Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA),LAGBUS, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) as managers of congestion and the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) as the vehicular condition monitors while the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) ensures that a reliable and robust data base is kept.
“In terms of implementation, there are seven rail routes we are constructing; the Blue Line is from Eric Moore to Okokomaiko while the Red Line Line will run from Iddo to a part of Ogun State”.
Speaking on powering street lights, the Governor said that remains a continuous challenge as the government has had to work with hotels and banks night clubs by going cap in hand to such organizations to link the lights up.\
“We want to start assembling in Lagos and using solar and we still trying to find the solutions. As we rank up capacity, it is our responsibility to obey them. We must all respond appropriately”.
Responding to a question on the policy of the government on restriction of commercial
motorcycles, the Governor said it would be retrogressive and unacceptable for the state which has developed from the days of Zappas to LMTS now resorting to Okadas as a means of transportation.
As part of innovations aimed at improving service in the sector, he hinted that
government is introducing electronic cards that are more customer and user friendly and similar to the electronic ticketing system in London where one can use the same ticket for the bus, the
rail and on the ferry.
On the question of more BRT routes, the Governor said this was underway already asthe Eric Moore Badagry route has a BRT route, same as on the Mile 12 to Ikorodu expansion which also has a BRT route embedded in it.
“We are also looking at expanding the bus service between Ajah to Victoria Island and back to the Tafawa Balewa Square and Marina which is currently under consideration”, he said.
While agreeing with a contribution that the training of LASTMA must go beyond the technical, he said the officers in the last six months have been under very intensive training on civic behavior and community responsibility.
He said the work of the LASTMA officer is not to apprehend offenders but to keep Lagos traffic moving, adding that the training programme they are being exposed to will make them very firm but fair.
On which of the tiers of government has responsibility for maintaining inner city roads, the Governor said allocating responsibilities must be assessed against the backdrop of resources allocated to each level explaining that for anyone who cares to know, the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria make do with only a little over 20percent of the money in the federation while the Federal Government alone appropriates 52percent and the 36 states share 26 percent.
He said the Local Governments are responsible for the maintenance of Primary health Care institutions and also responsible for primary schools, adding that immediately they pay salaries they have little or nothing left.
He explained that the Nigerian Constitution has also not helped matters as it has prescribed a single set of rules and regulations for all the Local Governments.
While speaking on the issue of tank farms, Governor Fashola said they are symptomatic of the poor business options that many Nigerians have taken as there are rail tracks that go directly into Apapa for loading fuel and could be useful again after some adjustments.
“If the will is there, all the tankers on the road now will run on rail. In the way that we have taken back the Mile Two Jetty, we can also resuscitate the rail tracks and take jetties away from residential areas. In the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the tank farm owners are already talking to us about relocating there because a Port would be located there”, he added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Publisher of Onwheels Magazines, the organizers of the event, Mr Jabez Aina said the event-“An Evening with Governor Fashola(SAN)” was put together to enable the stakeholders understand why the State Government has taken some decisions it has taken in the transportation sector.
He added that they also wanted to know the government can continue to provide an enabling environment for stakeholders so that the State may continue to excel.
Awards of Excellence were also presented to some reputable organisations in the transportation industry including ABC Transport, CFAO Motors, Toyota Nigeria Limited and Coscharis Motors.
Prominent among those who witnessed the ceremony were the State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, the Managing Director of LAGBUS, Mr. Tunde Disu, the Chairman of Toyota Nigeria, Chief Michael Ade Ojo and several notables in the transportation sector.
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