Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has commissioned the newly installed Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Centre (WMDMC) at the Five Cowrie Terminal – the headquarters of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Falomo, Ikoyi.
The Data Management Centre, which is first of its kind in the country, is a centralised monitoring base for all activities on the Lagos waterway. By the technology, LASWA is now empowered to generate real-time information, enhance safety and gather data for continuous improvement of the inland waterways.
The governor also unveiled advanced DJI Aerial Drone for surface surveillance and BlueEye Pro drone for underwater search and rescue operations. He handed over units of automatic U-SAFE rescuing gadgets for emergency evacuation.
Sanwo-Olu, at the event well attended by private operators, inaugurated LASWA Search and Rescue Unit (SAR), which will be responsible for patrolling and enforcing the State’s waterways rules and regulation.
The governor said the development further demonstrated his administration’s commitment towards improving mobility through multimodal transportation system and create affordable transit options for the residents.
Sanwo-Olu maintained that Traffic Management and Transportation remained the key component of his Government’s economic development plan, stressing that waterways transport had enjoyed special attention in the last three years because of the need to link it with existing rail and road transportation networks.
He said: “In the last three and half years, our administration has invested massively in waterways infrastructure and assets to deliberately encourage and promote water transportation in Lagos. Our gathering today is to further deepen our commitment to have a safe and secure ferry operation on our waterways. We are commissioning a big command and control centre specifically established to monitor and protect our waterways.”
Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos had not only been a responsible regulator in the waterways transportation sector, but also the leading player in ferry operations across established routes.
With over 20 units of high and medium-capacity boats in its fleet, the governor disclosed that Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) transported over 1.1 million passengers since February 2020 when it commenced commercial operations with recording accident.
All passengers on board of the LAGFERRY boats are placed on life insurance coverage throughout the length of their journey.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the installed technology was deployed with the objective to solve economic issues associated with mobility delays and improve reliability on water transportation.
He said study showed waterways transportation remained the safest if necessary safety measures were in place. He encouraged Lagosians to use the waterways for improved mobility and decongestion of road traffic.
LASWA General Manager, Damilola Emmanuel, said that digitising the inland waterways operations through the setting up of the command centre would enable the regulatory agency to have intelligent vessel tracking and monitoring along operating routes.