The failure of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu to appraise ongoing Dredging and Water Transportation Projects in Pagos has brought to fore the call by Civil Society Group, Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights, CHSR, for Governor Sanwo Olu to address the anomalies in the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development under the watch of the Commissioner of the Ministry,  Hon. Yacoob Ekundayo Alebiosu regarding poor execution of dredging and water transportation projects across Lagos State.

This call the Group says became necessary because the hope of waterways transportation for improved accessibility and movements across the state may not materialise soonest in spite of promises by the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to deliver on his promise.

In a statement by the Group signed by its President, Comrade Alex Omotehinse, it stated that It would be recalled that during the electioneering campaign that ushered in the State Governor for second term in office, he made promises to the electorate to provide water transportation facilities to enhance accessibility to other parts of the state.

However, recent happenings with regards to the implementation of projects raised doubts regarding the commitment of the Lagos State Government to fulfill it promises.

Unfortunately, there were several misrepresentations during the Ministerial Press Briefing by the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development where the scorecard of the ministry was provided in commemoration of the first year’s anniversary of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second term in office.

Omotehinse said It is regrettable that the Commissioner of Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Alebiosu did not provide accurate and substantial information on the prevailing situation with regards to ongoing dredging of waterways across the state.

He added that Without doubt, water transportation infrastructure is a potential catalyst for transforming economic activities across communities and the neighbourhoods in Lagos State.

The Group added that nevertheless, it has several reasons to doubt the progress of works on ongoing project contrary to the commissioner’s claim that the Jetty at Amuwo Odofin is currently at 52 percent completion while both the Ijede Shoreline / protection Jetty and Mowo Ojoo Jetty stand at 48 percent Completion. We expect the commissioner to shed more light on the progress of reclamation projects across the state under his watch.

“There are concerns about shoddy works being carried out by the contractors, who from all indications, are either not well-equipped or competent enough to deliver. We are deeply concerned that these projects may end up being abandoned or lead to wastage of public resources unless Governor Sanwo-Olu undertake immediate assessment of the progress of works and ensure proper implementation.

“It would be recalled that a CSO Group, under the aegis of Joint Youth Progressive Alliance (JYPA) had raised concerns regarding the channelisation projects being sloppily implemented. Hence, the renewed call on Governor Sanwo-Olu to investigate and correct prevailing anomalies.

“In the same vein, another CSO Group, Alliance for Accountability, Good Governance and Development (AAGGD) faulted the lackadaisical approach to the implementation of projects for the dredging by companies handling some of the projects for which huge sums of public resources have been released.

“Ongoing projects eliciting concerns include the channelisation at Mende in the Maryland axis of Lagos metropolis for which substantial payments from contract sums are believed to have been made”.

The Group added that there are concerns by stakeholders including boat operators to the effect that the equipment deployed for dredging are low-graded and unfit to deliver on the specified job as expected.  therefore there is the need for Governor Sanwo-Olu to allay the fears of the public by conducting assessment of the state of projects awarded by Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development without further delay.

“We are aware that residents in other areas to be linked with water transportation are worried about the neglect despite the promises made by Governor Sanwo Olu to ease their movements and to facilitate socio-economic activities by prioritizing water transportation.

“Some of concerned residents are also alleging that while the dredging waterways by was not prioritised where they are mostly needed. Residents are displeased the dredging of the waterways in critical areas where the project would offer huge relief to teeming population has been neglected.

“Some stakeholders are alleging diversion of funds released for dredging projects across the waterways in Lagos State through questionable appropriation by the Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA)”.

It therefore added that there are also concern that some of the ongoing dredging projects were awarded to proxies of leading members in the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu who has achieved very little or no progress in spite of payments received for the contracts awarded.

Omotehinse said that more disturbing however is that some contractors handling ongoing dredging projects are said to lack the requisite expertise and without equipment to deliver quality jobs.

The Group is however calling on Governor Sanwo-Olu to investigate Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure to allay public concerns and suspicions regarding arbitrary awards of dredging contract and ensure remedy to the poor implementation ongoing works.

It also want the Governor to ensure thorough diligence in the selection of contractors, and also that the immediate intervention of Governor Sanwo-Olu towards ensuring that resources are no longer diverted, but to also ensure that only contractors with requisite competence as well as required expertise and equipment are awarded the dredging of waterways to facilitate rapid transformation of water infrastructure in Lagos State is one of their major demands.

It also appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to remain focused in fulfilling his promises to Lagosians regarding waterways transportation to facilitate socio-economic development across the state.