NIWA issues guidelines for sand dredging operations in Lagos
The National Inland Waterways Authority, Lagos has issued guidelines for dredging operations in Lagos State.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting at the Protea Hotel in Lagos, the area manager of NIWA, Lagos Muazu Sambo disclosed that the guidelines became necessary to check the activities of the dredgers by enforcing compliance .
He said NIWA has been taken for granted for too long as the time has come for the agency to bite.
Mr. Sambo said the agency decided to sheath it’s sword after meeting with the Lagos State government officials in February in order to protect the environment, but warned the state government officials not to charge any fee until the case which is pending in the Appeal Court in Lagos is determined.
The area manager of NIWA appealed to the stakeholders not to sell wet sand or allow their truck drivers to carry wet sand from their site.
He lamented that only two companies have fulfilled all the requirement for NIWA permit as many others have not done so.
Sambo noted that NIWA have agreed not to ban dredging in Ajah and Badurin, but cannot afford to have 24 dredging sites in the area.
He stated that as at March 24, only six companies have complied with guidelines to operate in Ajah area and Badurin, adding that is only those six companies will be allowed to operate in Ajah and Badurin axis.
NIWA area manager Lagos added that the agency will soon move into areas like Shongotedo, Awoyaya, Badagry and other congested areas.
The guidelines include: That dredging machines must be spaced at a minimum distance of 500m away from each other, that permissible distance of dredging machines from the shoreline must not be less 500m, that a single dredge will only be allowed per stockpiling site, that the Chinese dredge system shall comprise of one master dredge machine, three transporters and one booster pump device, adding that though the Chinese dredge system is not the best for our environment as stakeholders should plan for replacement.
Sambo stated further in the guidelines that penalty shall be imposed on dredging companies for non compliance with dredging regulations, penalty shall be imposed on dredging companies for non compliance with HSE (Health Safety and Environment) standards, penalty shall be imposed on dredging company that does not maintain the access road to its stockpiling site, that the permit granted to a particular company in a specified location is non transferable to another location or to any other individual. Also, the approved site must not exceed the delineated area prescribed by perimeter survey submitted, that penalty shall be imposed on a dredging company for non installation of water/sedimentation box at an appropriate position for control of turbidity during dredging operations, that penalty shall be imposed on a dredging company for improper channelling of waste water drainage back into the water-body.
Others include, no reclamation project should commence until all requisite documentations are observed and approval granted.
Penalty shall be imposed on a dredging company that sells wet dredged sand to trucks, dredging companies should make it mandatory for trucks to adequately cover the sand before transported out of the site, EIA and Bathymetric/Sand Search Report are vital pre-requisites for dredging permits, dredging companies must establish and sustain good corporate social responsibilities in addition to other mutual agreements with host communities so as to engender peace and development, dredging operations must not obstruct navigational activities along the waterways and the dredging pipes should be properly marked out and sunk in water for the safety of other users of waterways, no dredging site shall commence sales of dredged sand before 6:00 am and must close by sunset, that dredging and all floating equipment must have valid Annual Survey and Operational Permits from NIWA.