By Shola Adewunmi
The Ad hoc Committee of the Lagos State House of Assembly on illegal dredging has urged the Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure to look into the possibility of upgrading the ministry’s dredging unit to a full department, saying that it would help to ensure collective synergy which would bring about more productivity in sourcing for revenue in the state.
The Chairman of the seven-man Committee, Hon. Victor Akande, made the call on behalf of his colleagues during a meeting with the officials of the Ministry during the week at the Assembly Complex, in Alausa-Ikeja.
Akande suggested that the challenges faced by the ministry would be resolved if the dredging unit is transitioned into a department in the ministry.
“The responsibilities of the dredging unit is enormous and it needs to be converted to a department to guarantee that duties are circulated and sufficient manpower is given to oversee the entire State,” Akande said.
A member of the Committee, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu, also complained that the ministry was limited in manpower resources, adding that there was need to empower the dredging department to ensure efficiency when upgraded.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Engr. Moruf Olawale Agoro, explained that some of the rifts caused during the administration of former Governor Akinwumi Ambode led to major dissonance in its activities in recent times.
Agoro noted that some of the constraints in the unit such as lack of operational vehicles, securities (Waterfront Taskforce), working tools, drones, GPS, external offices in dredging sites and training of staffs and office accommodation for proper monitoring of officers on field also led to the inefficiencies of the ministry.
He further noted that the ministry ensured order by arresting illegal dredgers who had not registered with the government, adding that when released they never come back to register with the state government.
The Committee, however, charged Ashbard, a company, to ensure proper registration of its organisation with the government and to furnish the House with its dredging permit and other related documents approved by the state.