Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday assured the people of the State of his strong political will to take tough decisions and implement effective strategies to bring about a robust traffic management system in the State.
Governor Ambode, who stated this at the Traffic Management and Transportation Summit organised by the State Government, said as a government, his administration is keenly committed to make Lagos work for all, and that effective traffic management, for him, is a good place to start.
The Governor observed that with the realities on ground, there is the need for practical and innovative solutions to address the traffic challenges confronting the State to deliver immediate dividends and future aspirations.
He said: “Lagos, in many ways, is a victim of its own success as many people leave other states and travel to Lagos seeking better opportunities. More Nigerians want to reside in Lagos and this obviously comes with some challenges.”
“As one of the leading commercial centres and an emerging City-State, we need to go back to the drawing board and agree on how our transportation sector can be effectively and efficiently operated to support the kind of trade and investment we want to continually attract.”
“We need to collectively examine how transportation sector can improve public sector delivery through better institutional framework, quality transport infrastructure and then tackle wasteful and socially harmful transport patterns. You will agree with me that the ease of travelling, mobility and communication are critical fuels for our State economic engine,” the Governor said.
Reflecting on the circumstances of high population and pressing need for economic growth, Governor Ambode said there is a strong need for stakeholders in the transport sector to evaluate and articulate smarter and effective strategies that would reduce congestion across the roads.
While emphasising the need for all stakeholders to work together to ensure a commuter-friendly and productive Lagos that promotes a shared sense of vision and leadership opportunities for all, the Governor stressed the need for the consideration of how to make other means of transportation more viable and attractive to reduce the pressure on the roads.
He added: “As a Government that is keen on promoting business and creating wealth opportunities for our residents, we are committed to seeking and funding substantial and comprehensive solutions to traffic challenges, therefore we are ready to take tough recommendations you come out with.”
“We owe it to the people to ensure Lagos works for all. Tackling traffic is a good place to start; a good place to begin the significant change that our people expect from us. Let us make Lagos work for us all,” the Governor said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Dayo Mobereola said the summit was put together in furtherance of Governor Ambode’s determination and commitment to genuinely address the traffic challenges confronting the State.
He added that the summit was also aimed at jointly developing workable system and solution with all stakeholders with the view to articulate and share knowledge and explore innovative approaches to free the roads and help in developing a robust traffic management.
On his part, Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi said because of its strategic importance to Nigeria’s economy, Lagos accounts for about 70 percent of the country’s transportation network and over 30 percent of vehicular density in Nigeria.
He added that there are about 40 petroleum tank farms in Lagos, and that the best way to tackle traffic gridlock is full enforcement of traffic laws and regulations.
While calling for synergy among the enforcement agencies, Oyeyemi also urged the State Government to establish Mobile Traffic Courts so as to further boost and compliment traffic enforcement.
The summit was with the theme: “Tackling Current, Evolving And Future Traffic Management Needs Of Lagos State.”
There were sector perspectives from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), among others, while the lead paper was presented by Dr. Gboyega Banjo, a traffic management expert who worked with the World Bank for 17 years.