The Federal Government on Monday asked licensed dredgers in Lagos State to ignore the ‘stop work’ order issued by the State Government.
The Lagos State Government had issued boat operators and sand dredgers ultimatum to stop work and regularize their operations with the State, after an Appeal Court ruled that it could control activities on its intra-state waters, which should begin and end within the State.
There had been a supremacy tussle on the issue of rights of control of the affected areas between the State and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
In that regard, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (FMMSD), Mohammed Abass, said the Ministry was still studying judgment of the Appeal Court, and urged the affected dredgers to go about their lawful operations.
Abass in the statement said: “Particularly, we wish to frown at the way officials of the Lagos State Government have gone about deliberately distorting the pronouncement of the appeal court in this matter. It is trite to state that by virtue of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), federal laws, in respect of administration of mining activities and utility of inland waterways supersede those of States. In the instance as it affects issues on the exclusive legislative list.”
Insisting that the ruling by the Appeal Court recognizes the powers and responsibilities of the various arms and organs of government as far as administration of mining and inland waterways was concerned, he said, it was surprising that officials of the Lagos state government were trying to inverse the ruling of the court.
He said, “We are therefore at a loss as to why officials of Lagos State Government will willfully attempt to inverse the ruling of the court to suit their much anticipated outcome. The learned justices were clear about the extent and limitation of powers of the various arms of government.”
He however expressed optimism that there will be a peaceful resolution of the issue between the state government and the Lagos soon.