Lagos taskforce invades Banana island, arrest dredgers, grab lands and properties.
The Lagos State government yesterday stirred massive controversy claiming most waterfront property at prestigious Banana island, arresting federal government licenced dredgers and forcefully took over reclaimed lands.
Most of the arrested dredgers slept in the task force office in Alausa and efforts to bail them by the leadership of dredgers association and other concerned stakeholders were rebuffed.
Some dredgers when confronted over the issue, claimed that a former military governor of the state who pulled all strings with Lagos government which now instructed a special waterfront taskforce to dislodged dredgers on an ongoing reclamation site which the former governor wants by all means and at any cost.
Worrisome to the dredgers association is the fact that certain waterfront cases are in court and also the attempt as a clear signal that Lagos State government wants to confront and dislocate licensed operators and run them out of the state.
Mr Richard Ntan, executive secretary, Nigerian Dredgers Association, disclosed that illegal arrest and detention of his members by the Lagos government and his waterfront taskforce is vexatious, annoying and provocative, adding that the invasion at a legal dredging site by the state can be likened to land grabbing.
“My association is studying the development and by this interview notifying relevant structures of government to call the Lagos waterfront commissioner to order and to cause our arrested members to be set free.
“We are law-abiding citizens and doing our jobs within the ambits of the law, so if anyone has issues over a site, disputed or not, to forcefully and brazenly arrest legitimate operators is undemocratic and will be challenged.” Mr Ntan said.
He further alleged that the Lagos waterfront commissioner is misleading the governor concerning the site which the former military governor wants to grab through the use of the Lagos taskforce on waterfront adding that searches conducted by the dredgers association revealed that the ex-governor was denied federal government permit on grounds of providing misleading information concerning the said controversial site and having failed in several attempts, decided to use Lagos State waterfront commissioner who is alleged to be his political son.