• Seeks control, management of newly commissioned Jetties in Lagos

By Steve Agbota

Following the increase in the price of fuel as a backlash from the inaugural speech of President Bola Tinubu on Monday, Boat operators under the aegis of Waterfront Boat Owners and Transporters Association (WABOTAN) have declared support for the President on the subsidy removal, describing it a bitter pill needed for the country’s healing.

WABOTAN president Babatope Fajemirokun stated this in a chat with journalists at the association Secretariat in Apapa on Tuesday.

This is even as the association has urged the Lagos State Government and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to consider handing over the newly commissioned Jetties across the state to WABOTAN in order to help manage them for optimal performance.

Comrade Fajemirokun described President Bola Tinubu as the only Nigerian President that understands the importance of the maritime sector to the GDP of the national economy.

“Sometimes, you have to swallow a bitter pill to get healed, we have seen this subsidy removal as such.
We see this government as a listening government and open, we want them to bring up whatever palliative that is necessary to cushion the effect.

“Some Nigerians have been clamouring for the removal of this subsidy for a long time, some people even described it as a fraud. So, for us, it is a welcomed idea and we would get used to it.

“The subsidy has been removed already by President Muhammadu Buhari before handing over to President Tinubu, but Nigerians like to take advantage of everything. For us as boat operators, we don’t think this is something that would choke everybody.

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“This is the first time that I am seeing a president that knows about water transportation and he is fully in charge, previous Presidents do not have knowledge of the maritime sector. Tinubu governed Lagos, a littoral state for eight years, and he made a lot of impact in the waterways business

“We are going to make our own presentation to his office. He knows what it takes to run the maritime economy and it’s important to our GDP,” he said

Speaking in the same vein, Public Relations Officer of WABOTAN, Raymond Gold said the association is by way of concession, seeking administration and control of the newly commissioned jetties by the Lagos State Government.

“Recall that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu recently commissioned four newly constructed jetties which include the Ijegun-Egba Jetty, Ilashe Jetty in Amuwo-Odofin, Isalu-Ajido Jetty, Marina Badagry Jetty,” he said.

The WABOTAN spokesman said: “We identify with the Lagos State Government in building these jetties, where there are good jetties, it promotes waterways safety. It also improved the look and feel of the encouragement where they are built. Above all these, you see several features in place like toilet facilities, contributing to the fight against open defecation.

“WABOTAN is a major stakeholder and we feel we have a major role to play in managing these jetties.
What we seek is concessioning and any other partnership that they deemed fit to enter with us, in order to ensure that the jetties are put into profitable use and they are sustainable in terms of maintenance in cost of running the jetties.

“WABOTAN is highly experienced and capable to run these jetties. Don’t forget that we also have a registered Cooperative Society regulated by the Lagos State Government, we have all it takes to run the Jetty as concessionaires. In fact, we have what it takes to run all the jetties, we have the experience, the manpower, including other federal jetties across Nigeria because we are national,” he said.