By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has narrated how insecurity and killings at Ilaje community in Bariga, Lagos, forced him to build a world class Jetty and road in the area.
The governor commissioned the Ilaje Road and Bariga Waterfront Jetty and Ferries in Somolu Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday to boost water transportation in the area.
Speaking at the commissioning, Ambode said incessant cult war in the area late 2015 propelled him to think of a solution to the security challenges in the area.
According to him, “What we are doing here today, I want to remind people what actually brought us here so that in future, if you are talking about urban regeneration. you can use this particular project as a very clear example of how to turn things around.
“A lot of people have forgotten, late 2015; the beginning of our security challenges actually started from this particular spot. There were always cult rivalries in this particular community and people were actually going house to house to kill each other and I tried to find out what was actually responsible, a lot of the cult members were actually having free access to money by dredging the sand and selling it and having free money to use it to harm other people in the community.
“So, when I came towards the end of 2015, and I saw the area and I also saw that it was a dumpsite, I was looking for a way to solve the security challenges in the community, so I decided to stop sand dredging in this whole neighbourhood.”
In solving the problem, the governor said he decided to construct a jetty in the area to tackle the security challenges, adding that “what we are unveiling today is a response to security challenges in this area.”
Ambode said in line with his administration’s policy of developing an efficient integrated transport model which would ease the traffic on roads, his government decided to commission the Bariga Waterfront Jetty, five transport ferries and the Ilaje Road.
He said the three projects were part of the grand plan to decongest state roads by getting more people to use the waterways transportation.
“The new Ilaje Road will serve as a very good access road to the Jetty as well as opening up this community. The Bariga Jetty will serve as a terminal where people in this part of our State can access ferry services and easily get to other jetties at Ikorodu, Marina, Falomo and Badore in Ajah. This jetty has a 150-car parking lot where people can park their cars comfortably and get on a ferry taking them to other parts of the State.
“Of the five new ferries we are commissioning today, four are passenger ferries while one is a car barge which can move cars to the other jetties as may be required by people who want to drive in the other locations. The thinking behind these projects is inclusion; an inclusion where every resident of our State has a say, feels the impact of government in their lives and is given the opportunity to realise their dreams,” he stated.
The governor explained that when he assumed office four years ago, his government set out on a mission to make every community economically livable, saying this had been the guiding principle behind spreading different projects across the State.
“When we first started on this project, the initial brief was to upgrade the roads in this community. But after a proper assessment of the community, it was clear that there was a bigger opportunity to improve the lives of our people here, make Bariga a transport hub and connect the community to other parts of the State through water transportation.
“The delivery of this road, the jetty and our new ferries signifies our commitment to the people of Lagos State to continuously provide the critical infrastructure that will improve their standard of living and also be an impetus to increase the socio-economic activities of this axis. The provision of comfortable, safe and reliable ferry services for the residents of Bariga and environs will no doubt bring about an improvement in journey times that would lead to greater productivity,” he said.
Ambode stated that with these projects, Lagos State is firmly on track with government’s goal of establishing an integrated transport management system, adding that these facilities would continue to impact positively on the lives of Lagosians as government strove to address traffic gridlock, reduce travel time, improve road connectivity and abate flooding.
Earlier, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya said aside the jetty, road and ferries, the State Government was also constructing 12 other roads within Ilaje and Bariga, just as he urged the people to take ownership of the projects.
On his part, Baale of Ilaje, High Chief Kayode Ajetiwa, who spoke on behalf of the community, thanked Governor Ambode, saying the people of the area would forever appreciate and remember him for transforming their neighborhood and making life comfortable for them through the projects.