Lagos tackles Illegal dredgers over negative impact of activities
Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has commenced monitoring activities of sand dredgers in the Awoyaya area of the state and its environs by placing ‘stop work’ order on 10 illegal dredging sites in the area.
Director of Mineral Resources and Solid Minerals in the ministry, Cardoso Emillo, said the visit to the area was in response to the several petitions the ministry received on the illegal dredging activities said to be causing environmental degradation of the area.
Emillo, who led the enforcement team following the directive of the Commissioner, Olalere Odusote, explained that the ‘stop work’ order was necessitated by the need to curb the illegal activities of the dredgers and protect the environment from further ruin.
He said it was government’s responsibility to protect the people, adding: “That is why the Lagos State Government is doing everything possible to ensure that dredging activities are done lawfully so that roads, public infrastructure and the wetlands can be preserved.”
Following the stop work order, he urged interested persons willing to continue dredging activities to follow due processes in obtaining necessary permits from the Federal Government through the National Inland Water Authority and ensure that they carry out their activities in accordance with stipulated laws without constituting threat to the environment.
He also disclosed that the state was presently collating data of authentic and registered dredgers, stressing that the process, when completed, would make it easier to identify illegal sand dredgers from legal operators.
He lamented how the activities of dredging companies have been affecting members of their host communities including children and adults, who find it difficult to leave their houses for work or school.
“Landlords are complaining that tenants are beginning to leave their flats for other places, because of the prevailing situation in the environment,” he said.
He clarified that issuance of permit and licensing for dredging do not really concern the state government but that it was important that the activities of dredging companies do not bring discomfort to the people or affect government property.
“We not here to harass anyone. We have realised the need to convey a stakeholders meeting where we will further engage the operators on the appropriate way to do their business. But for now, all dredging activities should stop until the needful is done,” he stated.