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Ferry services to the rescue as Apapa gridlock locks-down Lagos

One of the boats operating CMS to Apapa and CMS to Ikorodu

Seacoach Ferry Jetty in CMS, Lagos

Commuters in large numbers
have resorted to using the ferry services to move from Apapa to CMS and from
CMS to Ikorodu and vice-versa as the traffic congestion in Lagos seems to get
worse by the day.

A crowd of passengers were seen on several queues at
the CMS jetty of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) as at 7.30 a.m
on Wednesday.

In spite of three ferry service operators with over 15
ferry boats working, the crowd of passengers kept increasing.

Mrs Roseline Attah, a worker at a private firm along Marina
Street, said that she had been travelling by the ferryboat to and from ikorodu
where she resides.

She said the journey from Ikorodu was about 32 minutes
and that she would just walk into her office with ease and go back at the close
of work in the same way.

According to Attah, water transportation had become a
better alternative to road transport that would cost long wasted hours.

“I have been following the ferry boat from Ikorodu to
CMS to work and it has been the best option.
“I definitely cannot subject myself to the long wasted
hours going by road from Ikorodu anymore.

“I encourage Lagosians to save themselves the pains of
being in traffic for hours and losing so much even health-wise,” She said.

Another passenger, Mr Aziakpono Odoko, who also works
along the Marina, said water transportation was his saving grace since the
traffic jam started on May 6.

He said he was however encouraged to resume the use of
water transportation when he saw that one of the operators brought in new

Odoko urged the government to create more awareness to
encourage more people to embrace water transportation.

“What we are seeing today with the traffic situation
in Lagos is detrimental to the economy; it is detrimental to the health of people
as well as road infrastructure.

“But I must say that one of the new operators,
Seacoach Ferry, encouraged people like me to resume travelling by water.

“Government should just continue to make the working
environment conducive for them so that the masses can be saved the trouble of
endless hours of nightmare on the roads,” Odoko said.

An Apapa-bound passenger, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, said that
he had never been worried by the gridlock in Apapa as he always travelled by
water to CMS from Apapa and back.

He said that his business on the Lagos Island was very
time-sensitive, so he could not afford to drive in any traffic congestion.

Mr Mu’azu Sambo, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, said
that there had been an improvement in the ferry services with the Public
Private Partnership efforts entered into with Seacoach Ferry Nigeria.

He said that the operators started with a fleet of
nine boats that are certified for their international standard.

He said NIWA had also started planning to revamp some
ferry operations to serve communities in Ajegunle, Mile 2, Satellite Town,
Festac Town and its environs.

“Water transportation plays key roles in development
of a nation’s economy and for this reason NIWA takes it seriously to ensure
that ferry service provision is provided in all the areas where needed.
“With the unprecedented usage of the services
following the traffic gridlock, we remain alive to our responsibility to ensure
that ferry operators follow strictly, the safety standards.

“The operators know that they cannot because of the
rush carry beyond their boat capacity.

“We want every passenger to arrive safely at their
destination so that they can use enjoy the service again another day,” Sambo

It would be recalled that the gridlock started as a
result of tankers that came from across the country to load petroleum products
in Apapa.

The situation had since spilled into surrounding areas
from Apapa to the Lagos Island and close by environs like Surulere, Yaba and
Ikorodu road.

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