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Imoh Umana/ Uwemedimo Bassey

The government of Akwa Ibom State, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel, have commenced discussion to harmonize the common template for sand dredging activities in Akwa Ibom State.

This was the outcome of the meeting between the Commissioner for Environment, Sir Charles Udoh with critical stakeholders on Thursday, 11th February, 2021 in his office.

Sir. Udoh said ”the meeting was to reach an understanding with these parties because the activities of miners and dredgers have created diverse negative impacts on our general society.
We thought as government, that it’s necessary to have this discussion for us to be able to reach an understanding where we can come up with a template for effective operations without people infringing on our environment”. He added that certain infrastructures in the state have been threatened by the activities of the perpetrators.

The Environment Boss also stated that the security of our state is paramount. ” we are more concerned that some people filtered into our state under the pretext of mining, then at night they would carryout infamous activities. It therefore becomes apposite to know who dredges, where he dredges and how he dredges so that we can have full control of our environment”.

While noting the damages done on Eket – Onna bridge, Ikot Ntung bridge in Nsit Ubium and high-tension at Ikot Usekong because of unauthorized dredging, the Environment Helmsman opined that if something is not done to checkmate the activities of these miners, sooner or later, our society will be faced with great natural disasters that we would never be able to obviate.

Sir. Udoh maintained that the synergy with the regulators would make it an organize sector so that any person who come to Akwa Ibom State to dredge must know that there is a process and procedure to follow.

All the stakeholders at the meeting agreed that the template should be harmonized for easy regularization and to weed out charlatans in the industry, noting that over 99% of those that are dredging in Akwa Ibom state are operating without an approval to operate.

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