13 Illegal Sand Dredgers Arrested

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The Lagos State Government has begun the clampdown on illegal sand dredgers in the state with the arrest of 13 suspects in different areas across Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

The clampdown on illegal dredgers in the state was carried out in Ikorodu and Lekki areas of Lagos by officials of the Lagos State Waterfront Infrastructure Development with a back up from the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.

The clampdown became necessary due to increase in illegal dredging in the state. Officials of Dredging and Monitoring Unit of the ministry along with personnel of the taskforce started the raid along the Ikorodu axis where they arrested Mr. Henry Akinwunmi, an employee of RHS Dredging Engineering Limited; Adeniyi Oni and Akeem Tijani of Goldbrooke Investment Nigeria Limited, and Mr. Osewa Gbenga of Ibile Holdings.

The team also arrested three staff of Renecon Company Limited, namely; Jackson Ossai, Osagie Anthony, and Sunday Okonkwo for engaging the services of an unlicensed dredger named “Destiny 6” for their operations .

They also arrested three staff of Vibrapac Dredging Services, in Ikorodu, who were discovered to be operating with a dredger without permit. Those arrested are Tayo Phillips, Friday Nicholas and Moses Amana.

Others that were arrested for illegal dredging without permit include Mr. Jacob Tonyo of Swan Dredging Company Limited, Messers Adekiye Koko and Lawrence Teeh of Denka Dredging Services both along Ibeju Lekki Axis.

Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru, had vowed to clampdown on illegal sand dredgers across the state due to the inherent danger such activities posed to lives and properties of citizens in the state.

It had been discovered that despite the provisions of the existing law, illegal dredging activities still persist along the waterfront of the state which was the reason the enactment of stiffer penalties against default becomes imperative.

Oniru warned that, henceforth, any dredger who failed to obtain the necessary permit would be prosecuted under the proposed amended law on dredging, sandfilling and land reclamation activities which would soon be enacted by the State House of Assembly.

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Meanwhile, the state government has issued ultimatum to commuter bus operators in Ikorodu to desist from indiscriminate parking or be prepared to face the wrath of the law.

The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Babatunde Edu, said this during a meeting jointly organised by the agency and the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit for the two recognised unions in the state-the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) at the Task Force Office, Alausa, Ikeja.

He said that commuter bus operators usually flout traffic rules and regulations as they drive in direction prohibited by the law and turning the nooks and crannies of Ikorodu into parks rather than using the dedicated parks allocated to them.

Edu stated that the directive became necessary in order to curb the excesses of the drivers and street urchins who had narrowed the road to suit their undesirable acts, thereby causing traffic gridlock and posing a serious security threat to the people.

He warned that LASTMA officials would not hesitate to impound any vehicle found to have contravened the directive.

In the same vein, the Chairman, Task Force, Bayo Sulaimon, noted that state government, being a responsive and responsible one, would not fold its arms and allow such illegal act to continue in the state, adding that the State Government had been magnanimous enough to have called the operators to a meeting.

He advised the two unions to work together towards finding a lasting solution to the traffic gridlock associated with the town, warning them to comply with the new directive of moving to Sabo Park as all law enforcement agents had been mandated to enforce compliance.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga