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Federal, Lagos agencies move against illegal dredgers

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In a move targeted at saving coastal communities from indiscriminate marine and foreshore environmental degradation, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure monitoring teams have issued an immediate stop work order on all illegal and unregistered operators on the Addo Road Foreshore in Lagos State.

In a joint statement issued by the two Agencies after an extensive land and waterfront tour of Lagos, they decried the extensive degradation of the wetlands and virtual collapse of the fragile shoreline along the 3.5 km-long Ajah-Langbasa axis.

The statement noted that the indiscriminate dredging by illegal operators whose licenses had since expired constitutes health, safety and environmental threats to residents of adjoining communities of Badore, Langbasa, Ijoyi, Owode-Addo and Oke-Ira in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government area of the State.

“The excessive dredging of the Lagoon bed is causing distortion and uneven trough of undulating deep and shallow contours in the water-bed and hampering water transportation. The invasion of suspended particles like silt, mud, and clay deposits is also worsening the turbidity level of the Lagoon and disrupting the ecosystems” the statement revealed.

It also noted that investigations confirmed widespread blockage of drainage channels and flooding of the multi-million naira road in the area, resulting in daily traffic gridlock for motorists and commuters in the axis.

The release affirmed that licenses of existing dredging operators which expired at the end of 2015 will not be renewed, saying that some of the operators were accused of not observing the laws and regulations guiding their operations by over-dredging and deploying inappropriate locally fabricated tools, with parts abandoned and littering the lagoon.

The two-day tour was conducted by officials of NIWA and Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure.

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