•Sanwo-Olu unveils Eko Cares


By Lukman Olabiyi

Lagos State Government has revealed that before the end of the year, no fewer than 2000 units of Compressed Natural Gas-powered (CNG) buses would be launched to further ease commuting in the metropolis.

Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi, revealed this at the opening of the 2024 Ministerial Briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Center, Alausa Secretariat Ikeja, yesterday.

Reeling out some of the achievements of the Ministry of Transport (MOT), he said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration has prioritised the integration of various modes of transportation, including Rail, Water, and Bus services, as outlined in the comprehensive Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan.

“Some of the achievements include commencement of operation of the Blue and the Red Lines, which according to Osiyemi transports over 1 million passengers per day,” he said.

The commissioner also disclosed that when the Red Line commences  operation it will transport 250,000 passengers per day, adding that LBSL buses have transported over 51 million passengers since its commencement of operations in May, 2019.

On water transportation, Oshiyemi stated that the state ferry service, LAGFERRY, has ferried two million riders through Lagos Inland Waterways from inception to date. While stating that the state is hoping to boost water transportation and make a worthwhile option for Lagosians, he disclosed that additional jetties would be built, just as he said that 25 more passenger boats will be added to three existing fleets.

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The commissioner said its agency, LASDRI has trained over 276,000 drivers since 2019 till date, and collaborated with the Federal Road Safety Corps to issue 10,000,964 drivers licences to drivers.

On the issue of extortion by government officials, Osiyemi said Lagosians should not allow themselves to be extorted by fake people parading themselves as staff of the Ministry of Transportation.

“Lagosians should not allow themselves to be extorted. Local governments do not have traffic officers. They can not arrest motorists for traffic offenses. LASTMA is the only agency allowed by Lagos traffic laws to arrest traffic offenders. Lagosians should report any local official violating this law,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu is set to flag off the various interventions deployed to lessen the burden of Lagosians amid the economic hardship.

The interventions – in transportation, education, health and agriculture – are coming under the umbrella of EKO CARES.

In the wake of the fuel subsidy removal which sparked a rise in cost of living, Mr Sanwo-Olu announced a 50 percent cut in fares on all government transport platforms on February 8, 2023. After a review of the situation, the fare slash was reduced to 25 percent. For six weeks, the Ounje Eko Sunday market that signalled the reduction of food by 25 percent has been running. Civil servants from levels one to 14 were asked to work thrice a week while a N35,000 wage award was also given to all civil servants.

About 15,000 women from all the 20 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas got N50,000 each to support their businesses. Besides, Mr. Sanwo-Olu announced free delivery for expectant women in all government hospitals, among other initiatives.

To drive the initiatives, the governor set up a non-partisan Special Dispensation Advisory Council of eminent Nigerians, including rights activists, religious leaders, a youth representative and opposition party chieftains. It is chaired by Mr. Governor; Deputy Governor Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat is alternate Chairman.

Details of other interventions will be unveiled at a ceremony, which will take place at the Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja.