The National Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA says they are ready to sanction illegal sand dredgers and other unauthorised activities in the inland water ways of Bayelsa state.
Speaking with Newsmen in Yenagoa yesterday,the Bayelsa state area manager of the authority,Mr Tom Shaba reiterated the commitment of the authority to discharge its duties according to the provisions of the statuses backing the authority.
He maintained that as its name and mandate implies,the authority is in charge of the regulation, control and monitoring of the entire inland water ways of not only Bayelsa,but the country as a whole.
Shaba expressed worries that the bane of perennial flooding experienced in parts of the state and others was the direct result of flagrant disrespect for natural water ways.
He stated that illegal and unauthorised sand dredging activities have on their own heavily eroded most riverine communities, saying the authority would soon be bringing the full wrath of the law to catch up with those who are engaged in such illegal activities on the water ways.
On the issue of recurring flooding in the state, the area manager noted that plans were under way for the authority to continue synergizing on possible ways of curbing it,just as he said all hands must be on deck to checkmate the activities of those who develop properties along natural flows of water.
” Our duties are quite different from those of NIMASA and other basin authorities in Nigeria”, he said. ” While NIMASA is mainly in charge of the deep seas,ours is mainly concentrated on inland so nobody should think we don’t have enough teeth to bite”, he added.
“Very soon,would be taking appropriate sanctions against all illegal sand dregers in the state”, he noted.