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Tackling Illegal Mining And Dredging In Lagos

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The waterways stretching from Badagry to
Epe , (with a Peninsular in between , a lagoon
at the back and the Atlantic in front ), Ikorodu
to Marina, Badagry to Marina, among others ,
are nature ’ s gifts to Lagos. These are
coastlines which many people wish for , being
natural habitats yet to be subjected to
devastation , global warming , climate change
and other environmental hazards.
It is , therefore, shattering that in spite of
several warnings by the Lagos State
Government to illegal sand miners to desist
from their ignoble acts or face prosecution
and possible jail terms , the illegal activities
have continued unabated, thereby posing
threats to gas distribution channels and other
buried infrastructure in the state .
It is , indeed , depressing that some of these
illegal miners dig almost four to five meters to
the Atlantic . Illegal mining constitutes serious
environmental threats to society. In the first
instance, the activities could aggravate flood
disasters in some areas and expose the entire
state to severe consequences. The damage
done to gas and oil pipelines by illegal miners
could also bring terrible disasters to those
living along the coastlines, if not now but
certainly in the future .
On the economic side , illegal miners are
thieves who disallow government from
maximizing the natural resources of the state
for the good of all . Not only are they not
licensed to engage in what they are doing ,
they are equally denying those that are
lawfully permitted by law the leeway to
operate . Illegal sand mining is equally a direct
cause of erosion which has destroyed lives
and property of law abiding citizens and still
threaten lives and property of more citizens .
It impacts negatively on wildlife , as sea
animals that depend on sandy beaches for
their nesting , are sent into near extinction. It
also destroys fishery , causing economic
problems for people who rely on fishing for
their livelihoods. They are put out of business ,
worsening poverty , encouraging criminal
activities as these people become desperate
for survival . Perhaps , more importantly ,
illegal sand mining poses a great threat to
tourism enterprise in the state , as beaches
and other sites people would have visited for
relaxation and other social activities , have
been devastated .
These acts of illegality run contrary to the law
enacted in 2004 by the fifth Lagos State
House of Assembly , entitled : “ A Law To
Provide For The Regulation And Grant of
Permit To Any Person Conducting Sand
Dealing And Dredging Operation In Lagos
State And For Connected Purposes .” The law
stipulates that every person , corporation ,
partnership or body involved in sand dealing
and/or sand dredging operation should obtain
an operational permit from the state .
Illegal mining is a very dangerous business
that nobody should be involved in and it is
pleasing that the state Government is making
effort to put a stop to it . Consequently , the
state government is poised to streamline the
activities of sand miners and dredgers in line
with international best practices . This is
being done through new strategies meant to
check and coordinate sand mining and
dredging activities and avoid serious and
irreparable catastrophe to the landscape .
Existing legislation recommends a fine of N 2
million or six months in jail or both for illegal
dredging. However, with the activities not
abating, this penalty appears incapable of
deterring those involved in the illegal practice.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for a
review. Read the complete story on PM NEWS.

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