The Lagos State Government yesterday, issued a seven-day ultimatum to boat operators, dredgers and other stakeholders in inland waterways to comply with all laws, rules and guidelines guiding their operations.
The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, who gave the ultimatum at a news conference in Lagos, said that erring operators would face sanctions.
Kazeem told newsmen that the Court of Appeal, in a recent judgment, upheld the power of the Lagos State Government to control inland waterways within the state.
The official said that the government would fully enforce laws on waterfront infrastructure development and all related purposes.
He urged all boat and dredging operators to be law-abiding and fully cooperate with the government in its efforts to regulate activities on waterfronts for the benefit of the state residents.
Kazeem described the judgment delivered on July 18 as victory for true federalism.
The Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court and held that the state government had the right to control its inland waterways.
In this age of very lean resources, the judgment is a breath of fresh air for internally generated revenue.
“It will also help the state government to restore the environment and control the menace of flooding.
“There have been varied attempts by those who lost out in this judgment to whittle down the effect of the judgment but we are unperturbed and believe strongly that the judgment is very clear and the constitution is also clear on this issue,” Kazeem said.
The state Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr Adebowale Akinsanya, said at the event that the ministry would ‘aggressively’ enforce laws on waterfront infrastructure development.
“We will ensure balance between economic development and preservation that will permit the beneficial use of waterfronts.
“We intend to maintain and control land reclamation and extension walls along the waterfronts.
“We will renew, revoke, suspend, cancel or transfer operations permit.
“We equally intend to establish and regulate standards for development on all waterfronts,” Akinsanya said.
He said that there would be permit for sand dredging from within, around or on waterfronts, adding that the ministry would grant permits to construct, develop or erect buildings or any structure required on waterfronts.