The Lagos State Government has directed the state’s Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development to stop dredgers from carrying out activities in the state, Engineer Adebowale Akinsanya, Honorable Commissioner for the Ministry has said.
The Ministry has also been directed by the state government to stop issuing licenses to dredgers in the state.
Engr. Akinsanya, who disclosed the development on Thursday at a One-Day Stakeholders’ Meeting in Lagos, said the decision came on the heels of the government’s discovery of unauthorized extension of properties into the lagoon without due consultation and with total disregard to constituted authority, which, according to him, has led to flooding and erosion, and has adversely affected the eco-systems.
He explained that, in many cases, reclamations are done without EIA, traffic analysis and total disregard to the master plan of the state for such areas.
The Commissioner said, “Having reviewed the activities of dredgers in the state, the government has decided to put on hold all issuance of licenses of dredging activities till after the stakeholders’ meeting. In the same vein, we have come up with a new approach towards getting an approval or renewal of existing approvals in the state.
“Hence, an internet based information system will become operational soon, where all requirements for each category will be available and a two-step process will be adopted in getting approvals to operation in the state First, all applicants will get the approvals from the Lagos State Government, and will, secondly, go to NIWA for concurrent approval for all categories of permits. Temporary permits will no longer be permitted.”
Apart from illegal dredging activities all over the state, Akinsanya noted that operators bring substandard and environmentally unfriendly equipment into the state’s waterways all in a bid to save costs.
While also noting that, in some cases, sub-leasing is done by operators without the knowledge of the approving authority, the commissioner explained that each time officers of the ministry are sent out to monitor and correct these abnormalities, they are met with stiff opposition, and sometimes attacked by some agents of the operators.
Also speaking at the event, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Salami, who explained that the ministry has sourced competent hands, which have travelled the length and breadth of all the water bodies in Lagos state, however expressed optimism that the experts can tell why and what happens to the Lagoons, Creeks, and the Atlantic Ocean around Lagos.
He however reiterated the mandate of the ministry to include; formulation and evaluation of policies relating to waterfront infrastructure development; managing the state government assets and investments in waterfront development; developing jetties and bridges along the waterfronts of the state; retention, prevention and improvement of all land areas set aside for waterfront development; facilitating applications for land allocations along the waterfronts in liaising with lands Bureaus, among others.