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It’s illegal to build, reclaim lands from national waterfront – Amaechi

…Urges NIWA to recover national waters in Lagos

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) must stop those building at the waterfront especially those whose buildings are situated on lands reclaimed from national waters, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has said.

According to him, those buildings near the waterfront are running a risk, and the time has come for NIWA to stop Lagosians from building near the waterfront.

Speaking in Lagos recently at the just held World Maritime Day celebration, Amaechi explained that NIWA is not going to stop those who have the approval of the Federal Ministry of Works, but that will only cover only where the land stop, and from the beginning of the water, ‘the Federal Ministry of Works has no approving authority.

“If anybody reclaims the national waters, put your (NIWA) caterpillar there, let them take us to court. That is why there is court to settle disputes because there must be disputes in human relationships,” Amaechi says.

He directed Lagosians to forget any temporary approval received from the Federal Ministry of Works because it is illegal to reclaim land from national waters without approval.

“Today, you have a minister like me but tomorrow you may have a minister who may want to start recovering our waters. To recover our waters is easy. Just look at the last place it was before people starting reclaiming the land, and cut it off,” he says.

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According to him, only the President or the Federal Ministry of Transportation has the power to give people approval to reclaim lands at waterfront especially on Federal waters.

“So, all those who are reclaiming lands in Lagos without the approval of the Federal Ministry of Transportation are running at risk,” he added.

Amaechi however disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had a meeting with Lagos State Government to show them that the Appeal Court judgement, which states that the only water belonging to Lagos State, is the water that begins from Lagos State and ends in Lagos State.

“Therefore, any water that situates between the boundary of Lagos and Ogun State belongs to the Federal Government under the management of Federal Ministry of Transport. Until this law is amended, there is nothing any of us can do. The management of waterways under the Federal Ministry of Transport is broken into two, which are the coastal water and inland water,” he explains.

He however advised NIWA to partner with Lagos State to advance water transportation especially in states that have challenges with traffic gridlock.

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