The National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) has again asked Maritime and Dredging Operators to ignore the seven days ultimatum issued by the the Lagos State Government,through the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development to all dredging and related activities within and along Lagos Inland Waterways
A statement issued by the agency urged Maritime and Dredging Operators to remain calm and carry on their legitimate businesses as regulated by NIWA, as the judgment has not changed the status quo ante.
NIWA’s reaction followed the seven days ultimatum issued by the Commissioner of Waterfront Infrastructure Development,Engr. Adebowale Akinsanya to dredgers and those carrying out related activities within and along Lagos Inland Waterways at a press briefing at Alausa, Lagos.
The Commissioner had said that ultimatum followed the July 18,2017 Appeal Court judgement, which according to him gives the state the right to control its Waterways.
NIWA in a swift reaction contended that Lagos State House of Assembly in line with the Court of Appeal Judgement delivered on July 18, 2017 do not have the power to make Laws in respect of the following International and Inter-state Waterways in Lagos State.
They include: Intra-coastal route from Badagry, along the Badagry Creek to Lagos through Lagos Lagoon to Epe, Lekki Lagoon to Iwopin, along Omu Creek, Talifa Kivei to Atijere, Akata. Aboto. Oluwa River to Okitipupa and onto Gbekebo, Arogbo, Ofunama, Benin Creek to Warri. Also the canal running from Araromi through Aiyetoro, Imelumo to Benin River and from Aiyetoro through Mahin Lagoon to Igbokoda.- Item 5, 2nd Schedule, Section 10 of National Inland Waterways Authority Act. Cap N.47, LFN 2004.
To buttress its point, NIWA cited the judgement as per Dr. Hussein Mukhtar, Justice Court of Appeal,which reads, “The required declaration for inland waterways under the exclusive legislative list is made under section 10 of the National Inland Waterways Act, which includes rivers and intra-coastal waterways specified in the Second Schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act, which have been declared as Federal navigable waterways. Section 11 thereof provides that all navigable waterways, inland waterways, river-ports and internal waters of Nigeria, excluding all direct approaches to the ports listed in the Third Schedule to this Act and all the other waters declared to be approaches to ports under or pursuant to the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, up to 250 metres beyond the upstream edge of the quay of such ports, shall be under the exclusive management, direction and control of the Authority. Item 5 in the Second Schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act is the relevant provision for the navigable route that falls under the exclusive legislative list and it provides as highlighted above. This root runs through international and states boundaries and is therefore consistent with the provisions of the Constitution being an item on the exclusive legislative list. Revenue accruable from this Federal route is payable to the Federal Waterways Authority (NIWA).”
“It is hereby held that the Lagos State House of Assembly is competent to make laws in respect of the intra-inland waterways in Lagos State except the Inter-State waterway declared as International or Interstate Waterway under Item 5 in the 2nd Schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act”Dr Hussein Mukhtar, Justice,Court of Appeal.
In view of this judgement, NIWA demanded that Lagos State should define their Intra-state water routes in the tate.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Waterfront Infrastructure Development had yesterday stated that, “the Ministry will embark aggressively to enforce the law to provide for the regulation of Waterfront Infrastructure Development in Lagos State and for connected purposes,which among others include: to renew,revoke,suspend ,cancel or transfer Operations Permit granted.
Others to ensure balance between economic development and preservation that will permit the beneficial use of waterfronts while preventing the diminution of open space area or public access to waterfront,shoreline erosion,impairment of scenic beauty or permanent adverse changes to ecological system,maintain and control land reclamation and extension walls along the waterfronts and to also establish and regulate standards for development on all waterfronts.
Lagos State , the Commissioner stated would review the dredging activities in Badore-Addo Road,Eti-Osa,Teddi/Muwo Waterfront in Ojo,Owode-Ibeshe inIkorodu,Hospital Road,Badagry,Era Waterfront,Oto-Awori,Ojo,Sangotedo Waterfront,Eti-Osa among other places in view of the numerous petitions the ministry had received as result of indiscriminate dredging,shoreline depletion and damage to road infrastructure .