The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (FMMSD) has urged all duly licensed dredgers in Lagos to go about their legitimate duties without hindrance by the Lagos State Government.
A statement by Mohammed Abass, the Permanent Secretary of FMMSD on Monday in Abuja, said that dredgers should disregard any instruction seeking them to stop their lawful operations.
Abbas said the ministry’s attention was drawn to a recent ruling of the Court of Appeal in Lagos and several reports ascribed to various officials of the Lagos State Government regarding a purported order issued to duly licensed dredgers operating in the state.
He said while the legal officers of the FMMSD were studying the judgment of the Court of Appeal relating to the case in question, in the interim, the dredgers should continue with their day-to-day activities.
According to him, the ministry frowns at the way some officials of the 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.
“A cursory review of the ruling of the learned justices of the Court of Appeal indicates a clear recognition of the powers and responsibilities of the various arms and organs of government with respect to administration of mining and inland waterways,” he said.
He said the ministry was therefore at a loss as to why some officials would willfully attempt to inverse the ruling of the court to suit their much anticipated outcome.
The permanent secretary said that the learned justices were clear about the extent and limitation of powers of the various arms of government.
He said the ministry took the development with all seriousness and solemn commitment, adding that the FMMSD had already commenced the process of consultations on the issue with all relevant and affected arms and agencies of the government.
He said that the ministry was confident that an amicable resolution would be reached in no time.