In a bid to restore sanity to the coastline and to protect the ecosystem, the Lagos State Government has introduced a two-step approach in the issuance of licenses to dredgers in the state.
Consequently, issuance and renewal of dredging licenses will be jointly done by the state’s Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development and an agency of the Federal Government- Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
This came to the fore at a stakeholders meeting in Ikeja where the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Mr Adebowale Akinsanya frowned at some unregulated dredging activities going-on in some parts of Lagos.
Suspension of licenses
In the same vein, Mr Akinsanya read out government’s decision to suspend issuance and renewal of dredging licenses to give room for Lagos State and NIWA to regulate the activities of dredgers.
“Many of the operators have seized the opportunity of the rancour between the Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in the past to perpetrate all sorts of atrocities, especially in the areas of dredging and reclamation, the effect of which has caused colossus damage to our ecosystem. I am happy to inform you all that, the Ministry, LASWA and NIWA have now formed a very formidable partnership to protect our environment and save lives of Lagosians who have been at the receiving end in the past.”
“At this juncture, let me state clearly that having reviewed the atrocities of dredgers in the state, the government has decided to put on hold all issuance of licenses of dredging activities; henceforth an internet based information system will become operational soon where all requirements for each category will be available and a 2-tep process will be adopted in getting approvals for operations in the state.”
First, all applicants will get the approval from the Lagos State Government and will then go to NIWA for concurrent approval for all categories of permits, also, temporary permits will no longer be entertained,” the commissioner highlighted.
Meanwhile, the Area Manager of NIWA, Mr Muazu Sambo enjoined dredgers in the country to adopt best practices in all their activities.
Muazu who commended the agencies of Lagos State Government for the collaboration with NIWA, called for more holistic partnership between state governments across the country and the federal agencies.
This position was also corroborated by the Chairman of Lagos State House Committee on Waterfront- Mr Gbolahan Yisau as he called for concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the protection of the environment.
On his part, the Monarch of Lagos- Rilwan Akiolu charged the government to take drastic measures in dealing with illegal shoreline dredgers as he also made a case for those whose lands had been taken over by ongoing developments at the Eko Atlantic City and Lekki Free Zone Area.
“We understand what government is doing, it is for economic development but they should have the interest of the people at heart, that is all,” the Monarch stressed.
Earlier, an environmentalist, Dr Regina Folorunsho, in a power-point presentation said that continuous dredging activities in Lagos State had been endangering sea animals.
Dr Folorunsho however appealed to the authorities to strengthen capacity in implementing integrated area management plan and also develop human capacity for monitoring the waterfront.