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The General Manager, Lagos Zone of NIWA, Mu’Azu Sambo, said after a joint meeting with the Addo Residence Estates Associations, the Tipper Drivers Group, and members of the Dredgers Association, there was no going back on the resolution for the dredgers to vacate the area, because their operations have imposed hardship on the residents.
Sambo said the grace period is given to the operators to vacate their equipment, and enable them sell off the sand they already have, warning that NIWA would not spare violators of the law, who would venture to continue any dredging activity after the meeting.
He said: “I am granting you some palliatives, which include 14 days to enable you close down your operations in the area and move your operational equipment away. You can also use the period to sell what you have on ground. However, there shall be no fresh operations of sand dredging.
“We will deal with this legally and have our officers on ground to ensure compliance. We will do that politely, but not hesitate to come down heavily on violators. We shall impound any tipper seen carrying sand out after the ultimatum and arrest and prosecute the driver.”
Sambo however urged the dredgers to go in search of other suitable non-residential areas to begin new operations, promising to ensure that they got permits for their applications.
He also said as the dredging operations end in the Addo/Badore area, NIWA would be carrying out a post-dredging impact assessment to ensure the safety of the area.
Narrating the plight of residents, the Chairman, Addo/Badore Residence Estates Association Forum, Mrs Funke Jegede, decried that almost on a daily basis, residents including school children, got home past midnight due to the traffic congestions on the roads.
She remarked that the road leading to the area had become impassable, as dredgers had destroyed the entire area with their trucks, transporting wet sand, dripping water and sand on the roads, and creating craters, which make it difficult for other motorists to move.
Representatives of the dredgers group, in their summation, agreed that their activities had actually impacted negatively on the area, causing continual hardship on the residents.
Speaking, Basil Dominic said the roads were obviously impassable even as they continued to make efforts to fix them, and appealed that the dredgers needed capacity to fine-tune their operations to avoid creating a hash after-effect on the community.
Speaking on behalf of the Tipper Drivers Association, the Zonal Chairman, Akeem Taoheed, blamed some of the dredgers for transporting and selling wet sand, and allowing it to mess up the area with reckless abandon.