30 January 2013

Nigeria: Lagos Laments FG's Failed Promises

Lagos State Government has lamented Federal Government's failure to intervene in the prevailing conditions of beach encroachment, coastal erosion and environmental challenges which often threatens lives and property in the state.

The state's Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, Tuesday expressed the disappointment while addressing a news conference in Alausa, on the ministry's programmes and work plan ahead of the 2013 rainy season.

Bello, who addressed the conference alongside the Special Adviser on Environment to the governor, Dr. Taofeek Folami, and the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Mr. Muyideen Akinsanya, also explained the constraints on the part of the state government to restore and regenerate Apapa and its axis could not really take off.

He acknowledged some promises made by the Federal Government "to help address the challenge of beach encroachment which ate up Alpha Beach in 2011 during which President Goodluck Jonathan visited the area".

He also mentioned the case of Kuramo Beach, which suffered a worse case of coastal erosion in 2012, explaining that the state government repeatedly called on the Federal Government for intervention without avail.

He further blamed the Federal Government for the relapse of Apapa's traffic gridlocks and environmental nuisances due to what he ascribed to as its failure to make good its promises to help restore the area.

He, therefore, explained that most of the challenges confronting the state government along its coastal lines as well as the Apapa Central Business District (CBD) "are the statutory responsibilities of the Federal Government."

In 2012, for instance, the commissioner said, the state government asked the Federal Government for intervention when there was a grave case of beach encroachment in Kuramo Beach, though there was no specific response.

He said until other states of the federation "suffered acute cases of flooding, the Federal Government did not release the sum of N400 million to the state government. This is wrong. It appears the Federal Government is not ready to do anything for Lagos State due to a number of promises it made at different times without redemption."

He explained that the Federal Government did not respond "to the crisis of coastal encroachment in Kuramo specifically. Rather, it responded while giving other states that suffered massive flooding some money. This is wrong because beach encroachment is different from flooding and erosion."

He explained the sudden refusal of the Federal Government "to honour its promise after the state government cleared Apapa in 2012. Apapa is gradually relapsing into its old state because the Federal Government after we worked together to clear the area and the Federal Government promised to cooperate with us.

"There are huge problems in Apapa. We need to deal with the issue of oil tank farms. We need to address of ports' poor management, which is responsible for traffic gridlocks. The Federal Government promised to contribute money. But till date, nothing has been done and they have not contributed a dime.

"We have not received a dime from the centre. But they sent representatives last week to meet with the state government and have agreed to make some contributions. In some parts, the Federal Government promised to contribute 70 per cent. In other parts, they promised to contribute 35 per cent. Once they are ready, we would cooperate."

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