Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development has warned dredgers against unauthorised dredging, saying it is inimical to the mode of operation leading to irreparable damage to the environment.
It said the impact of uncontrolled dredging has constituted huge crisis along the coastline and has, therefore, prompted stringent rules to check unwholesome operations.
State Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Adebowale Akinsanya, who spoke during a stakeholders meeting in Alausa, Ikeja at the weekend, said the government has concluded plans to halt the issuance of dredging licences in certain areas of the state to ensure regeneration and re-assessment of such places.
He lamented that unapproved extension of properties into the lagoon without appropriate consultation has led to adverse effects of flooding and erosion.
He said: “Henceforth, an internet based information system will become operational soon, where all requirements for each category will be available and a two-step process will be adopted in getting approvals for operation in the state. First, all applicants will get approval from the Lagos State government and then go to National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for concurrent approval for all categories of permits. Temporary permits will no longer be entertained.”
On the impact of human activities and its effect, an environmentalist, Dr. Regina Folorunsho blamed deterioration of natural habitat and the eco-system on activities such as sand mining, dredging, subsidence, negative land use, deforestation, dams including a host of others.
She explained that while dams reduce the influx of sand into the state, dredging on the hand amounts to unevenness in the depth of the lagoon. She further condemned arbitrary creation of islands by individuals for commercial purposes, noting that it constricts the lagoon water flow.
According to her, the coastal geosyncline along the entire Lagos coastal areas is composed of young sediments still undergoing the natural processes of dewatering and compaction. Such processes result in subsidence and ultimate lowering of the already low-lying coastal topography.
She said: “The state should strengthen capacity for implementing integration area management plan; develop human and infrastructural capacity for checkmating erosion, flooding and salt water intrusion and develop capacity for modeling, evaluating and designing physical structures.”
Area Manager, NIWA, Mu’Azu Sambo urged operators to observe the cardinal requirement of dredging operating tariff and see the collaboration with the state government in positive light in order to maintain a sustainable environment for businesses to thrive. “The need to carry out dredging in a way that would preserve water navigation and ecosystem is an essential consideration and has been a motivating factor in our collaboration with the state government in its plan for safe and secure dredging,” he said.