The House of Representatives on Wednesday commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration for the construction and implementation of a seamless transportation system in the State.
The chairman of the ad hoc Committee investigating the failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, gave the commendation during a working visit to Lagos State.
During the visit, the lawmakers engaged with the Deputy Governor, Chief Femi Hamzat, and other private-sector transport companies.
He disclosed that the Ad-hoc Committee decided to engage with the Lagos State Government and other successful private sector players in mass transportation in the state rather than travelling abroad for the same purpose to conserve the government’s scarce resources.
Hon. Ogene, in a statement made available to Parliamentary Correspondents, affirmed that the Ad-hoc Committee’s findings so far in the numerous meetings with diverse stakeholders were very insightful and revealing.
Recall that the House had on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, set up an ad hoc Committee to investigate the failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes (land, rail, and waterways) in Nigeria since 1999, propose sustainable solutions, and report findings accordingly.
Speaking further on the visit to Lagos State, Hon. Ogene said: “In the Committee’s research work on the subject matter, it recognises the success story of the Lagos State Government in mass transportation and believes it would be beneficial to visit the State to hear firsthand how the state, as a subnational entity, is excelling where the Federal Government has inexplicably failed.”
Hon. Ogene, at the meeting with the Lagos State Governor, represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Femi Hamzat, emphasised the Committee’s quest for sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s Mass Transit challenges.
He said: “We interface with key stakeholders, and Lagos stands out as a state that has set the pace not only in road transportation with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) but also in waterways and the newly commissioned Blue Line (rail). Our visit to Your Excellency, in this regard, given the peculiarity of the state, is an opportunity to benefit from Your Excellency’s experiences in the different sectors of mass transit and exchange ideas on the possible ways mass transit operations and policy in the nation could be rejigged in a way that would add value to the seamless movement of Nigerians and ultimately contribute meaningfully to the national GDP like in other climes, in line with the mandate of the Committee.”
Responding, the statement quoted the Deputy Governor, Femi Hamzat, as saying that the State Government was delighted that their efforts in mass transit were being recognised and applauded, even by an organ of government as important as the federal legislature.
Chief Hamzat said that the State Government has always been intentional in its investments in mass transportation, given the huge population and the increasing need for seamless movement across the state.
The Lagos Deputy Governor also disclosed that mass transportation is not only capital-intensive but also a necessity.
He, therefore, appealed for the Federal Government’s support, partnership, and better synergy in addressing the challenges of the mass transit system in Lagos in a way that would add value to the state’s purposeful efforts in the road, waterways, and rail modes of transportation.
Apart from the recently commissioned monorail in the state and the Blue Lines, Hamzat, who attributed the success story of the state in the transportation sector to diligent planning, also revealed that the state would soon launch another phase of the scheme, referred to as the Red Lines, which, according to the Deputy Governor, would have a higher mass transportation capacity than the Blue Lines.
Hon. Ogene also revealed that apart from touring the LAMATA and the Blue Lines facilities in Lagos, the Committee also held meetings with other stakeholders, including the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration, NIMASA.
In the meeting with NIMASA, the Committee charged the agency with improving maritime safety, especially given the seeming lacklustre safety regulatory compliance in the nation’s waterways, which may have been responsible for the rising incidents of tragic boat mishaps across different locations in the country.
The Committee implored the Agency to give the same attention it gives to the safety of intercontinental ships to the operations of local ferry services in Nigeria.
Hon. Ogene also revealed that the Committee also met with some private transport companies, including the Chisco Group, which has run successful mass transportation operations for 45 years.
The Committee sought to find out how the company was able to run a sustainable transport business in a challenging infrastructural and economic environment.
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