By Innocent Orok
The unending face – off between the National inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State government over dredging activities may enter another phase as the Federal Government waterways regulatory agency has frowned at the attempt by Lagos State House of Assembly to over reach itself on the extant mining laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which mandates NIWA to oversight access through the waterways.
The latest irritation is sequel to moves by the Lagos State House of Assembly to ambush the regulatory powers of NIWA and at the same time interfere in the activities of dredging companies.
The state has through the composition of a 7-man committee to investigate and make recommendations on dredging activities in Lagos State. A development NIWA consider as deliberate and subtle attempt to muzzle its mandate and expose it to national ridicule.
Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director of NIWA in a letter to the State government and copied to the Secretary to the Federal government and the Minister of Transportation, Boss Mustapha and Rotimi Ameachi respectively, called on the state government to caution the leadership of the State House of Assembly to stop forth with the current posturing which is a clear breach of peaceful resolution between NIWA and Lagos State government over clash of interest on dredging and sundry waterway matters.
Detailing the background to the current impasse, Dr George Moghalu stated “that as a prelude to the full understanding of the matter under reference, you would recall that there was a recent clash between National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State Waterfront and Infrastructure Development during which our staff and indeed companies registered with us were arrested by your staff and arraigned before Special Offencies court, the resolution of that imbroglio I believe is still under consideration.”‘
Warning however that, Lagos State House of Assembly attempt may post logs in the ongoing efforts to reach amicable settlement of vexed issues at hand. The NIWA boss drew the attention of the state government to the extant laws on Minerals and Mining Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which clearly states that where there are issues arising from the operations of any licensed operator of the federal government, Section 141 of the Act and sections 15, 16 and 17 of the regulation made pursuant to the above Act has made copious provision for its resolution.
The NIWA boss further informed the
State Government that a ruling of the Court of Appeal in Mining cadastral office vs Petroleum and Transport Investment LTD and another (2018) LPEIR 46046 which cleared the air on the vexed issue and further recognizes waterway use permit exclusively within the ambit of NIWA.
“May I in simple words, emphasize that matters within the exclusive list of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are outside the legislative competence of the State Government as they are within the competence of the National Assembly, Dr Moghalu reinstated,. Urging the Lagos State Government to respectfully forward his observation to the leadership of the State House of Assembly.