Lagos state government arrests 34 dredgers over illegal activities
The Lagos state ministry of waterfront infrastructure development has said that between May 2019 and May 2020, a total of 34 dredgers operating illegal dredging sites as well as dredging illegally for reclamation within the state were arrested and prosecuted by the state taskforce on environment and special offences
Speaking during the year 2020 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the first year in office of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the governor of Lagos state, Ahmed Kabiru Abdullahi, state commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development assured that there will be no hiding place for any form of illegal dredging activities in the state in the quest of the current administration of the state towards putting in place a safe and decent environment.
The commissioner said that his ministry continued to monitor dredging activities on the Lagos waters to ensure compliance with stipulated dredging laws and health, safety and environmental guidelines of the state during the period under review.
Abdullahi lamented that the illegal dredging activities within the state water-bodies as enabled by the indiscriminate activities of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has continued to bring about degradation of the shoreline and road infrastructure as well as environmental pollution.
He regretted that the result of the interference of NIWA has prevented the ministry from generating adequate revenue from the dredging activities within the state.
The commissioner called on NIWA to increasingly refocus its attention to its primary mandate which is creating channels for boat navigation on the waterways as against what they are doing now as land speculators, sand sellers and creating land for property developer.
Despite challenges that it faced in the past one year, the commissioner said the ministry of waterfront infrastructure development surpassed its 2019 budget by about 300 percent through its assiduousness.
The commissioner disclosed that plans are also being put in place to achieve a higher revenue record this year even through the ministry`s 2020 budget despite the ravaging effect of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
He maintained that the ministry under the current administration is committed to the provision of infrastructure and services at the Lagos State Waterfront by harnessing resources to ensure well-protected environment, which is attractive to tourists and observers.