… Issues New Sets of Regulations
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has directed sand dredgers in Lagos State to register properly and get the authority’s permit, warning that any operator who fails to comply would not be permitted to operate as from January 2020.
Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Eng Sarat Braimah gave the warning on Friday at a stakeholders meeting for key operators in the maritime industry which held in Lagos.
Eng Braimah equally issued a directive to barge operators to desist from double stacking containers while on transit, even as she lamented that two mishaps have so far been recorded on Lagos waters since the movement of containers by barges from Apapa Port commenced.
According to her “Within two weeks, we recorded two mishaps, we had containers falling on water, we only use to hear that containers fell on Ojuelegba bridge, but now they have transfered it to our waterways”
“In the first mishap, the tug boat had only one engine and it was taking twelve containers from Ikorodu terminal to APMT in Apapa.
Unfortunately for the Pilot, the single engine developed fault at Elegbata, he could not control the tide”
“The second mishap, the pilot loaded from Dangote Jetty, he was going to ECN, he double stacked the containers, unfortunately, the tide was high around Elegbata, there was a bridge, he thought the tug would be able to pass, but when he got there the tide changed and the containers hit the bridge, the tug boat went down and sank” she recounted
Eng Sarat stated firmly that NIWA would only license investors that are capable, and that anyone who do not have capital to invest in the business should stay away. She reiterates that investors that want to be involved in cargo movement should be more serious.
The NIWA boss said that henceforth, the survey and registration of tug boats, barges must be strictly from the NIWA Lagos office, saying that NIWA would not give certificate to a barge that is not surveyed by her.
On dredging activities, Eng Braimah announced to the stakeholders that by January 2020 ending, anybody that does not have NIWA permit would not be allowed to dredge in Lagos State.
She said “We want serious investors, if you don’t have the money to do dredging, then go and do other businesses, if you don’t have money to pay for NIWA permit, then you are not fit to dredge”
“If you don’t pay full money for permit by January ending, you will not dredge”
Speaking stressed the need for dredging companies to engage in community developments and Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR)
“I have complaints from the traditional rulers that they don’t even know the dredging companies, they just collect NIWA permit and start dredging, henceforth, if you don’t give them land in your community, we cannot give them permit”
“Everyone should go and join the Dredgers Association of Nigeria, it might beba prerequisite to giving you our permit, we want to know who we are dealing with and if they are dredging illegally, it will make our work easier”
“We have a lot of boat mishaps that has been reported, and unfortunately they are caused by wrecks constituted by these dredging companies, it is sad that these dredgers are now the problems on our waterways for navigation”
“If you go to Ibeshe and Langbasa, you would see wrecks and pipelines abandoned by our dredgers, they are blocking navigational routes”
“If you go to the access roads leading to the dredging sites, it is an eye-saw, it is so sad that you are dredging in a community and the community is not gaining anything from you as CSR”
“Every site should have a sediment box in order to manager water from splitting everywhere, if you don’t have it, we would not allow you to dredge”
“Dredging is not the reason why Lagos roads and communities are flooded, dredging helps flooding, most of the flood is caused by blockage of drainage and all dredgers should endeavor to evacuate drainages as a way of CSR” she said
Also speaking, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abayomi Ogunsanya, the Olubeshe of Ibeshe Kingdom at Ikorodu Lagos lamented that there are more than ten dredging companies operating in his area and that only one of them is recognised and given his consent.
He urged dredging companies to stop approaching village chiefs and rulers to obtain consent for dredging, adding that it is only the king that has the powers to issue consents.
On his part, the former President of Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Eng Abayomi Idowu urged NIWA to make its permit fee reasonable and affordable, adding that so many dredging companies are already out of business due to lack of jobs.
He argued that it is not the duty of the dredging companies to seek consent from the traditional rulers, adding that the land owners are responsible for getting their Certificates of Occupancy and invite dredging companies to do the dredging work.
The stakeholders meeting was largely attended by traditional rulers, community leaders, barge operators, boat operators, dredging companies among others