By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola Monday urged residents of the state to desist from dumping refuse into waterways in the state, saying it “remains one of the biggest tourism assets.”
Fashola, who made the appeal at the 2012 Lagos Water Regatta, said Lagos remains one of the few states in Nigeria blessed with aquatic splendour. He said water resources “serve as a means of economic growth for residents. I implore all to understand that the water ways represent a big asset that we must protect and treasure.
“This water asset represent great opportunity for tourism, sports, transport, business and survival, there is need for us to join hands with the government to protect the water ways.
“It is not a place to dump refuse, let us be the policemen of these waterways. The possibilities are increasing and I assure you that the best is yet to come,” the governor said.
He explained the giant strides, which he said the state had made in water transportation and that boat operators were in the final phase of signing concession to adding more ferries to their fleet.
Describing the regatta as the best organised so far, Fashola said a new water front was created to ensure better view and participation.
According to him, after looking at the traditional boat display, I was wondering in what part of the country you would have this kind of colourful display with militant ijaw youths that are friendly, which shows that Lagos is a land that provides opportunity to be who you are.”
He also commended the organisers of the Regatta for coming up with new innovations, expressing optimism that the Water Regatta can only get bigger going forward.
Also at the Boat Regatta, Chairman of the Planning Com-mittee, Mr. Olusegun Jawando said the annual Regatta “is a cardinal programme of the state government to preserve the socio-cultural heritage as well as a way of exploring opportunities of the water ways”.
He explained that the Regatta is geared towards promoting the state’s tourism potentials as it provides each participating community opportunities to show what it has to offer He said the 2012 edition had a lot of innovation and creativity as a Regatta Village and other innovations were introduced.
The Lagos Water Regatta featured colourful display of cultural performance by various traditional boats, commercial operators and floats from the various Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas at the 2012 edition.
The Regatta which has become a synonymous celebration with the annual Black Heritage Festival and Easter Carnival, attracted several dignitaries and tourists who relished the parade and the participants held at the Civic Centre Water Front.
Competition in swimming, rowing race, Kayak race, power boat display, jet skis display and sea school were on display as participants slugged it out in water sport for prize money, medals and trophies.
Scores of fun seekers and tourists also thronged the venue to have a fill of the aquatic display on parade at the Regatta.
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