Lagos state Deputy Governor, HE Femi Hamzat and other state officials in a group photo with members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes, led by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, after a courtesy visit to Lagos state governor.
Hon. Ogene also revealed that apart from touring the LAMATA and the Blue Lines facilities in Lagos, the committee also held meetings with other stakeholders, including the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration
In preparation for investigative public hearing, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, has disclosed that the committee chose to interface with the Lagos state government and other successful private sector players in mass transportion in the state, rather than traveling abroad for the same purpose, in order to conserve government’s scarce resources.
Hon. Ogene made this assertion in a statement in Abuja, on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, adding that the Committee’s findings so far in the numerous meetings with diverse stakeholders, were very insightful and disturbingly revealing.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes ( land, rail and waterways) in Nigeria since 1999 and to proffer sustainable solutions and report findings accordingly.
Speaking further on the visit to Lagos state, Ogene said, “In the Committee’s research work on the subject matter, it recognises the success story of the Lagos state government in mass transportion and believes it would be beneficial to visit the state, to hear first hand, how the state, as a subnational is excelling where the federal government has inexplicably failed.”
According to the statement, Hon Ogene, at the meeting with the Lagos state governor, represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Femi Hamzat, in the committee’s quest for sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s Mass Transit challenges, “we interface with key stakeholders, and Lagos stands out as a state that has set the pace in not only road transportation with The Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), but also waterways and the newly commissioned Blue Line (rail), so, our visit to Your Excellency, in this regard given the peculiarity of the state, is an opportunity to benefit from Your Excellency’s experiences in the different sectors of mass transit, exchange ideas on the possible ways mass transit operations and policy in the nation could be rejigged, in a way that would add value to seamless movement of Nigerians and ultimately contribute meaningfully to the national GDP like in other climes, in line with the mandate of the Committee.”
Responding, the statement quoted the Deputy Governor, Femi Hamzat, to have said that the state government was delighted that their efforts in mass transit was being recognised and applauded, even by an organ of government as important as the legislature.
Hamzat said that the state government has always been intentional in its investments in mass transportion in the state, given the huge population of people and increasing need for seamless movement across the state.
The Lagos Deputy Governor also disclosed that mass transportation is capital intensive but also a necessity, and therefore appealed for the federal government’s support, partnership and better synergy in addressing the challenges of mass transit system in Lagos, in a way that would add value to the state’s purposeful efforts in the road, waterways and rail modes of transportation.
Apart from the recently commissioned monorail in the state, the Blue Lines, Hamzat, who attributed the success story of the state in transportation sector to diligent planning, also revealed that the state would soon launch another phase of the scheme, referred to as the Red Lines, which according to the Deputy Governor, would have a higher mass transportation capacity than the Blue Lines.
Hon. Ogene also revealed that apart from touring the LAMATA and the Blue Lines facilities in Lagos, the committee also held meetings with other stakeholders, including the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration, NIMASA, where the Committee charged the agency with improved maritime safety, especially given the seeming lacklustre safety regulatory compliance in the nation’s waterways, that may have been responsible for the rising incidences of tragic boat mishaps across different locations in the country.
The Committee implored the agency to give the same attention it gives to safety of intercontinental ships to operations of local ferry services in Nigeria.
Ogene also revealed that the Committee also met with some private transport companies, including the Chisco Group that has ran successful mass transportation operations for 45 years, in the Committee’s bid to find out how the company was able to run a sustainable transport business in a challenging infrastructural and economic environment.