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Lagos arrests illegal dredgers in Ikorodu

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The Lagos State Government has arrested workers at an illegal mining site and operating container terminal in Ibeshe, Ikorodu area of the state.

Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, who led the team, said the state moved swiftly to seal the unapproved terminal and arrest the workers to prevent problems in the environment of Ibeshe, located beside the state government jetty in Ikorodu.

He noted that the state government would not tolerate a replay in the experience of Ijegun-Egba and satellite town, notorious for unpleasant experiences with tank firms and terminals, while decrying the destructive impacts of the activities of the container terminals on the environment and the newly constructed Ebute-Ibeshe road.

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He said: “It is highly unacceptable that by indiscriminately parking containerised vehicles on the road and stacking containers in unbridled manner, an unapproved business activity would have so much impact on the environment so as to rapidly despoil the road constructed with taxpayers’ money and constitute danger to children in the neighborhood.”

He explained that the government had a well-established procedure for licensing terminals and mining activities on the shoreline to ensure factors that make for a livable and sustainable built environment would have been taken cognizance of.

He urged anyone interested in the establishment of container terminals and sand mining to seek approval of appropriate authorities, including the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, among others, while calling on community leaders and members to maintain the surveillance of their communities and report any physical development to appropriate authorities.

Recall that in 2020, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said perpetrators of illegal mining in Nigeria were mostly foreigners, noting that all illegal mining happening in Nigeria could be traced to foreigners that came into the country illegally or with extraction permits for another purpose.

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He added that President Muhammadu Buhari set up a mining police comprising Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff, and National Security Advisers, among others, to address illegal mining across the country.

But within the last six months, illegal container terminals and mining operations have hit major parts of the cities with pending conflicts among host communities.

In September last year, the Lagos State Government moved to stop activities of illegal container terminals with the sealing up of three illegal locations on the FESTAC Link Bridge, Amuwo Odofin. This also includes the one used for batching sand underneath the bridge, among others.

Salako, during the exercise last year, explained that the container terminals, some of which also operated unapproved docks, were located indiscriminately in apparent contravention of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning Law 2019, which stipulates that prospective developers must obtain planning information and planning permit as necessary conditions for locating such facilities.

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