Lagos Lagoon Too Shallow for Ferry Services—Oyebode
By Adedapo Adesanya
A former Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund (LSETF), Mr Akintunde Oyebode, has disclosed that the Lagos lagoon was too shallow to accommodate the kind of ferry services the state needs for efficient water transportation.
Mr Oyebode, who is presently the Special Advisor of the Ekiti State Government on Investment, Trade, and Innovation, made this disclosure in reaction to plans by the Lagos State government to extend its fleet to 20 ferries before the end of 2019.
While commenting on the issue via his Twitter page, @AO1379, Mr Oyebode noted that the major issue with the plan was the depth of the lagoon, saying, “At an average depth of 3 meters, it can’t accommodate the kind of ferry service Lagos badly needs.”
Citing a research carried out in 2018, he said that in most places, the navigable draught was less than 2 metres, and that’s before considering places where pipelines are installed at 3-4metres.
He said the plausible solution would be to dredge the waterways but this is not without complication especially in places like the Ikorodu axis of the state, which is the biggest passenger hub.
According to him, ”At -2/3m, there are pipelines that need to be relocated for bigger vessels to pass,” pointing out that such venture won’t be possible without putting huge financial constraints on the government.
He blamed the shallow placement of pipelines on the waters, stating that this is one of the major reasons why vandals were able to carry out their attacks on the oil facilities.
He called on stakeholders to have a rethink on the size of the terminal which he described as “simply too small for the kind of traffic we should push.”
However, he noted that the waterways could bring about a larger outcome for the state, and called on Lagos State to budget significantly more resources to its waterways in 2020 and beyond.
“Lagos State needs to budget significantly more resources to its waterways in 2020 and beyond,” he said.
Mr Oyebode also noted that this was also a business opportunity for private ferries, but emphasised that it was necessary for the government to fix the waterways before private investors to attract more investors.