Govt Bans Illegal Dredging Of River Ethiope

BY AUSTINE ETAGHENE
GOVERNOR Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State yesterday, ordered immediate stoppage of illegal dredging of River Ethiope at Okirigwre-Sapele.
The governor also ordered the arrest and prosecution of one Sunday Ogba, who allegedly masterminds the illegal dredging activities.
The governor also declared Saturday this week as a special environmental sanitation day in Sapele, against the backdrop of predictions of more torrential rains and floods in some states including Delta.
Uduaghan gave the directives while inspecting the on-going clearing of natural water channels and drainages in Sapele, headquarters of Sapele Local Government Area of the state.
He said during the special sanitation exercise emphasis would be on clearing of drains.
The governor, who said it was criminal for any government official to give approval for the building of structures on natural water channels, declared that owners of illegal structures obstructing water channels would bear the cost of demolition.
He told the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Frank Omare, who took him round Sapele metropolis on the inspection, to ensure strict compliance in addition to the presence of mobile courts to prosecute offenders.
At Diamond Beach along River Ethiope, site of the illegal dredging activities, Uduaghan ordered that dredging be stopped immediately as the exercise was affecting the one-kilometer old bridge linking Okirighwre and Mosogar Town.
He noted that the removal of sand was causing environmental degradation and could lead to the collapse of the old Ethiope River Bridge built in the late 60s.
Fielding questions from journalists, Uduaghan expressed satisfaction with the on-going drainage clearing exercise, supervised by the commissioner for environment, to rid Sapele of flood and filth.