… REASSURES LAGOSIANS ON SAFETY OF WATERWAYS
In order to showcase the beauty of Lagos and also assure Lagosians and tourists of the safety of its waterways, the Lagos State Government on October 1st, staged an entertainment event tagged “Greater Nigeria Independence Cruise” on the waterways as part of activities marking the country’s 61st Independence anniversary celebration.
The boat cruise tour which was a partnership initiative of Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, Lagferry and Goge Africa, took off from Falomo to different parts of the State for several hours on water on board MV Adamu-Orisa, a Lagferry barge with the capacity to move 300 persons at a go.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf who was also part of the cruise, canvassed increased usage and patronage of water transport to reduce cost and duration of commuting across the metropolis.
She acknowledged the fact that through the efforts of Lagferry, patronage of transportation on Lagos waterways has increased compared to what the situation was before the establishment of Lagferry. The Commissioner stated that: “In less than two years, the water index patronage stood at 3.2 per cent.
Akinbile-Yussuf, said: “Lagos State is a state of aquatic splendour and we are on a cruise ride to commemorate the Independence Day and also to showcase tourism potentials in the State.
“Water transportation is promoting tourism in Lagos, and I am encouraging Lagos residents to patronise water transport which is easier in moving from one location to another without encountering traffic,” she said.
On his part, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, said that the initiative shows that tourism cannot thrive in isolation, it relies on partnership to work, citing the instance of the platform provided by Lagferry to safety sail participants during the cruise as well as the professionalism brought to bear by Goge Africa, all these efforts, according to him, are geared towards promoting domestic tourism.
The Special Adviser called for more private sector support to advance the tourism sector and also increase Lagos State’s competitive positioning, relative to other tourism destinations, and position Lagos as a top 5 tourist destination in Africa.
He encouraged Lagosians to create time for relaxation. Bonu said that just as other nations of the world have devised means to live with the prevailing covid 19 virus, tourists in Nigeria must also keep the sector alive and ensure strict adherence to all covid 19 protocols.
The Managing Director, Lagos Ferry Services, Hon. AbdoulBaq Ladi Balogun, said the state government was using the event to showcase the water transport potential in social, business and entertainment areas.
He added that apart from using the barges to carry cargo goods, it was being used in transporting cars as well as for entertainment purposes such as hosting weddings, birthdays, conferences and anniversaries.
The host of Goge Africa, a popular tourism television show, Isaac Moses, during the tour, affirmed that Lagos has beautiful waterways worth exploring by tourists within and outside the country.
He advocated for the use of waterways as a way to decongest the pressure on Lagos roads, stressing that the busy nature of roads across the metropolis should not deter tourists from exploring the rich tourism potentials of the State or debar fun-seekers from connecting Lagos.
The co-host of Goge Africa, Nneka Moses, in her submission, said that the Goge Africa brand prospered in Lagos because the government is always willing to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Her words: “Success in Lagos is possible and easier compared to other cities because there is an enabling environment here in this city. Coincidentally, today makes it exactly 22 years since Goge Africa made a first appearance on Television and I can say that, the enabling environment by the government has helped us thus far. ”