21st July, 2011
President Goodluck Jonathan in company of Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday inspected the ship wrecks at the Lekki Beach in the Eti Osa Local Government and the impact it has had on coastal erosion in the area.
President Jonathan who alighted from a Nigeria Airforce chopper with registration number NAF 541 on the Beach accompanied by the Governor and the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello said wherever ship wrecks happen; it should be the responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other federal agencies to take charge.
The President also asked: â€œWas there any investigation to know the state of the vessels and it is the responsibility of the Federal Government agency to determine that, it could be that some of the vessels are too old and the owners deliberately brought them into Nigerian waters and leave them there with weak anchor device. They will claim it was an accident and the ship drifted ashore. It could be that they wanted it that wayâ€.
Briefing the President earlier during the inspection, the State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello said since the ship wrecks have been washed ashore, it is the State Government that has been responsible for efforts to remove the wreckages.
He said the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA) should have come in to play their expected roles rather than leaving the State Government to tackle the wreckage alone.
Giving an insight into the Presidentâ€™s visit later at the airport, Governor Fashola said a reason why the visit of the President is symbolic is that since the flood incident of last week, the President has given his sympathy and also sent men including a Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund to come and evaluate the extent of the damage.
He added that the President has also gone to Alpha beach and part of Maiyegun beach to see some parts of the severely impacted places where the state can get some help.
Speaking during an interview with airport correspondents after the visit, Governor Fashola said the visit to Nigeria by two world leaders in the last 10 days reaffirms the assertion that the role of Africa on the planet has been particularly definitive and that Nigeria as the biggest black economy on the African continent will have a role to play depending on how she organizes herself.
â€œThe message of the talk by the British Prime Minister is Aid, Trade and Democracy. There is a lot of business in the air. Our government agencies, banks, financial institutions must brace up. There is a lot of opportunities in the air and we must embrace it and take the benefit the way Britain expects us to benefit.
â€œThere is a lot of work to be done and instead of grumbling, everybody including the media, the society, the government, civil society must see this now as one last huge opportunity for nation buildingâ€.
â€œWe can use this decade as Nigeriaâ€™s turn around decade. Itâ€™s predicted that about six to eight fastest growing economies are on the continent. We would be there if we actualize the dream, potentials wonâ€™t take us there, actualising means rolling up our sleeves, stop quarrelling, fighting and stop being part of the problem but the solutionâ€, Governor Fashola stated.
Responding to a question about the purported failure of the drainage system in the State as being responsible for flooding, the Governor affirmed that the people should be careful to jump into conclusions about workings of the drainages system without proper knowledge.
â€œThis tells us that we have a lot of work to do to share information with the people that there is a drainage channel. But the drainage channels are not just channels that we call gutters but the body of lagoons, rivers, canals and creeks. The channels that we call gutters are to take water to the drainage. We have a lot to do to let people know the role the channels are supposed to play in the neighbourhoodsâ€.
â€œWe need to build more. go to Lekki, you will see our men, at Surulere in Babs Animashaun by Census, work is in progress, in Shomolu, three contractors are working, in Lekki by Igbokusu and Chevron by Ajiran. We have solved the problem in Idi Araba. Two years ago when we were doing the concrete lining, parts of Surulere were flooded and there was a lot of outcry.
Today, the concrete line is working and the river LUTH is not a river anymore. The drainage works but with 16 hours unrelenting rainfall, it could be very challengingâ€.