The National Inland Waterways Authority has criticised a recent decision by the Lagos State House of Assembly to draft a seven-man committee that will investigate and make recommendations on dredging activities in the state.

NIWA termed the action an attempt to “ambush its regulatory powers and interfere with activities of dredging companies in the state.”

It noted in a statement that the move was “a development NIWA considers as deliberate and subtle attempt to muzzle its mandate and expose it to national ridicule.”

Friction had been a regular occurrence between NIWA and the Lagos State Government over the control of the inland waterways, but the Managing Director, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, had assured stakeholders that the issues had been resolved.

He also reassured concerned members of the dredging community that the state was working amicably with NIWA and so they would not endure harassment from officials of the state while carrying out their dredging activities.

NIWA however worried that the latest move by the Lagos State House of Assembly was set to re-ignite the rift between the two parties.

“The Federal Government waterways regulatory agency frowns on the attempt by the Lagos State House of Assembly to overreach itself on the extant mining laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which mandates NIWA oversight access through the waterways,” NIWA stated.

It added, “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 through the composition of a seven-man committee to investigate and make recommendations on dredging activities in Lagos State, a development NIWA considers as deliberate and subtle attempt to muzzle its mandate and expose it to national ridicule.”

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Moghalu, in a letter to the Lagos State government, copies of which were sent to the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, called on Lagos State Government to caution the leadership of state House of Assembly.

He insisted that the latest move by the Assembly was a clear breach of the peaceful resolution between NIWA and Lagos State Government over a clash of interest on dredging and sundry waterways matters.

Detailing the background to the current standstill, the NIWA MD stated, “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 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 offences court, the resolution of that imbroglio I believe is still under consideration.”’

He warned that the Lagos State House of Assembly’s attempt could obstruct ongoing efforts to reach an amicable settlement on vexed issues at hand.

He moved the attention of the Lagos State Government to the Minerals and Mining Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stated that where there were issues arising from the operations of any licenced 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 had made provision for its resolution.

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