Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode
IN a renewed effort to address several issues affecting waterfront development in Lagos State, the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development has assured stakeholders on possible solutions that would ultimately lead to boosting dredging activities in the state.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders meeting last week in Alausa, Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya, an engineer, said that the dimension of dredging operation in the state had necessitated for quick attention so as to protect the state’s fragile coastline.
Akinsanya stated that, Lagos state as a mega city has its expectations in the committee of nations and all hands must be on deck to ensure that “we live up to those expectations especially in the areas of waterfront development. Lagos state is about 23 per cent of water and we need to manage this special gift from God.”
He said that, in the past many operators have perpetrated all sorts of atrocities in the areas of dredging and reclamation. The effect of which has caused colossal damage to our eco-system.
Akinsanya said, ‘’I am happy today that Lagos state Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) have formed a very formidable partnership to protect our environment and save lives of Lagosians who have been at the receiving end in the past.’’
He narrated that, over the years, the Ministry of Waterfront has witnessed various unauthorized extension of properties into the lagoon without due consultation and total disregard to constituted authority.
He stated further that, apart from the illegal dredging activities all over the state, substandard and environmentally unfriendly equipment are brought into our waterways in order to save cost by operators.
However, he added that, the state would no longer allow dredging activities to occur in some areas of the state, this he said would create regeneration and re-assessment in such areas.
He stressed that dredgers operating in the state’s waterways illegally would not be allowed to carry out their operations until the government and NIWA issue new licenses.
Area Manager, NIWA, Mu’azu Sambo said, the intention of government was to develop the inland waterways as a viable alternative mode of transporting economic goods and persons to compliment the other modes like road, rail and air.
“The need to carry out sand dredging in a way that would preserve navigation on water, the ecosystem and the surrounding land environment is an essential consideration for the grant of the authority permit for this activity.”
He advised stakeholders to see the new collaboration from positive perspective and create a sustainable environment for their businesses to grow and thrive, creating jobs and providing essential commodity needed for construction and infrastructure, as well as capacity building for our technicians and artisans.
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