Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has ordered sand dredgers operating in waterways in the state to stop their operations and vacate the sites immediately.
Mr Ade Akinsanya, the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure, relayed the governor’s order at a closed door meeting he held on Monday with the dredgers from Ebute-Ilaje in Alausa, Ikeja.
The commissioner said: “Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode has ordered that all sand dredgers in Lagos State should stop operations immediately.
“He also ordered the dredgers in Ebute-Ilaje to evacuate their dredging equipment from the environment within 72 hours.
“The idea is to ensure adequate security of lives and property in the state.
“Dredgers in the state need to renew their operational permit annually, but majority of them have not renewed their permit for many years.
“The state government and the National Inland Waterways Authority are the licensing authorities to give directive on such operation on the waterways’’.
Commenting, Mr Kazeem Adesola, the Chairman of Ebute-Ilaje Dredgers Association, appealed to the governor to reconsider the decision.
Adesola said that there were lots of challenges involved in the relocation of the dredging equipment.
“We are ready to obey the state government’s directive, but we will face a lot of constraints moving our equipment away from the place.
“In fact, 200 men will find it difficult to carry one of the dredging machines and we have over 100 operating machines.
“Each of those machines costs N550, 000 and they are seven feet in height,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the order followed the fracas between two communities in Bariga area of the state, Folarin and Ebute-Ilaje over dredging sites.
With the development, the government said it was out to check the activities of hoodlums in the area.