By Gboyega Adeoye
Lagos State government has stirred massive controversy yesterday, claiming most waterfront property at prestigious Banana Island, arresting Federal Government licenced dredgers and forcefully took over reclaimed lands.
Most of the arrested dredgers slept in the taskforce office in Alausa and efforts to bail them by the leadership of dredgers association and other concerned stakeholders was rebuffed.
Inside sources alleged that the frontal infraction at Banana island was generated by a retire general ( name withheld) a former military governor of the state who pulled all strings with Lagos government which now instructed a special waterfront taskforce to dislodged dredgers on an ongoing reclamation site which the former governor wants by all means and at any cost.
Worrisome to the dredgers association is the fact that certain waterfront cases are in court and also the attempt as a clear signal that Lagos State government wants to confront and dislocate licensed operators and run them out of the state.
Mr Richard Ntan, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Dredgers Association disclosed that illegal arrest and detention of his members by the Lagos government and his waterfront taskforce is vexcious, annoying and provocative, adding that the invasion at a legal dredging site by the state can be likened to land grabbing.
” My association is studying the development and by this interview notifying relevant structures of government to call the Lagos waterfront commissioner to order and to cause our arrested members to be set free.
” We are law abiding citizens and doing our jobs within the ambits of the law, so if anyone has issues over a site, disputed or not, to forcefully and brazenly arrest legitimate operators is undemocratic and will be challenged.” Mr Ntan fumed.
He further alleged that the Lagos waterfront commissioner is misleading the governor concerning the site which the former military governor wants to grab through the use of the lagos taskforce on waterfront adding that searches conducted by the dredgers association revealed that the ex governor was denied federal government permit on grounds of providing misleading information concerning the said controversial site and having failed in several attempts, decided to use Lagos State waterfront commissioner who is alleged to be his political son to push for a takeover and caring less what happens to innocent and legitimate dreading firms and their workers who are languishing behind bars.