Dr. Frederic Oladeinde is the Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State. At the recent National Transport Technology Conference and Exhibition (NTTCE) organized by the Nigerian Transport Commissioners Forum, he granted this exclusive interview to The News Diet, speaking on a wide range of transport sector issues in Lagos State. Enjoy it:
You spoke about introducing a fourth BRT in your speech earlier. Can you explain this concept?
The fourth BRT is the Lagos-Badagry expressway BRT lane which runs parallel with the blue line which is the rail line. It starts from the Eric Moore axis and goes all the way to Okokomaiko. The idea is that it conveys people who intend to alight at a shorter distance because the rail stations are about 800-1000 meters apart. The train stops are at longer distance and this BRT alternative creates an option for people who don’t intend to go all the way but prefer to alight 500meters apart.
It is another option that creates alternatives for people when there is a problem with the rail. They can have an option of the BRT and when there is a problem the BRT, the railway alternative is also available.
The recent ban on motorcycles in Lagos State has sparked new debates even as experts posit that the bikes as well as tricycles weren’t part of the Lagos transport master-plan. What’s the plan for replacement and sustainability of this ban?
Motorcycles also known as Okada isn’t part of the strategic Lagos master-plan and the alternative is that we are rolling out more first-to-last mile buses. We are also rolling out more taxis such as the Lag-rider and we are continuing with our bus reforms. We also want the Okada riders to form cooperatives in order to buy buses rather than Okada and some of them are complying. The idea is to utilize buses, taxis and we have also deepened the water transport modes and railway.
Lagos is so small in geographical size and we can’t fill it up with motorcycles. We can’t meet up with the climate change target on green house emission and other environmental issues with bikes. Motorcycles will be more appropriate in an environment where there is a very big spacial distribution. Lagos is too compact and bikes will just not work.
Also, people are using bikes to commit crimes and they are getting aware with these illicit practices. The accident rates with bikes are also alarming and the people that we are losing are the younger ones who represent the next generation to take Lagos State to new heights in terms of development and transformation. We can’t fold our hands and let Okada kill everybody in Lagos.
In recent times, this ban on Okada has happened on three or more occasions. Should Lagosians be convinced that this ban wouldn’t be jettisoned in less than a year?
The reason the last Okada ban wasn’t strong was that it coincided with the End-SARS protests and with the trends and information that we had to be careful with the whole arrangement. Currently, we are poised to sustain this ban and we are bringing alternatives to ensure there’s no vacuum. The Police and other stakeholders have come together to ensure this ban is successful. It has become a security risk to Lagos and the residents. We have seen videos of Okadas being destroyed and ammunition found in them. It’s very important that we stamp out okada from Lagos state.
You revealed earlier that Lagos State is also planning to have an Inland Waterways Monitoring And Data Management Centre. What’s the essence of this centre?
The essence of this centre is to ensure that the state government has control of the waterways and examines what happens at the terminals.
It is important that we increase the number of people utilizing water transportation, but people need to be sure that they are actually safe on the waterways before they can use that transport mode. This explains why we are investing in security and safety, even as we ensure that we connect the water transport in such a way that people don’t have to wait for such a long time before getting a bus when there is a faster and hitch-free alternative in water transport.
However, making water transportation safe is paramount to people wanting to use the waterways.
What are concerns on the marine environment and pollution, especially on the threats to waterway transport?
There is hardly pollution on water which is why we are trying to get more people utilize the waterways. Most of the pollution emanate from the land and coastal communities, hence the need for proper orientation.
We are planning to utilize electric boats in the near future and this would ensure that there is less emission on the waters. It’s instructive to note that as we get more people to accept and utilize the waterways, there will be less emissions in terms of pollution from vehicles on the roads.
This event is focused on deploying technology to address transport sector challenges. What innovations should Lagos residents look out for in the transport system?
We are going to get lots of technology in trying to improve security. There is also going to be lots of technological innovation to bring together the modes of transport to make it more efficient and effective. Most importantly, we are also using technology to combat enforcement because enforcement is now becoming something that might get out of hand. We have observed how some transportants attack officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and some of our offices.
Technology could help ensure that people stick to the traffic laws and all we have to do is protect our officers. Once people begin to see that there is something watching them, they would stick to the rules and that is very important.
Recently, the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) body cameras for their officers in Abuja and they’re planning to deploy this technology across the nation. Would Lagos consider similar innovation for LASTMA operatives?
Lagos was the first to launch body cameras and we utilizing this for LASTMA and VIS to protect our officers. We will continue to invest in body-cam so that people know that they can’t just insult our officers and get away with it. It is also strategic to resolve issues when we arrest people.
Some people claim that our officers said something offensive or allege that the officer did something inappropriate, but we can have evidence from the body camera.