Human rights activists have flayed the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for disregarding an appeal court ruling in Lagos.
The Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had urged the licensed dredgers operating in Lagos State to disregard the stop work order issued by the Lagos State government.
The statement by his Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Abass condemned the court ruling and several reports ascribed to government officials.
The disobedience to court was criticised by the National Publicity Secretary of Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran and National Secretary, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), Mr. Tony Uranta.
According to them, the disobedience was capable of causing anarchy, especially when the necessary legal processes of appeal were not followed.
They said it was dangerous for an organ of the Federal Government to direct the citizens of the nation to disregard a court order.
Odumakin said: "It was a two-way development. First, I would blame the ministry for such directives because of its dire implications on the rule of law and conformity. The contractors involved were citizens of the country and it does not sound proper for any organ of government to encourage its citizens to disobey court order.
"If the ministry, for whatever reason was displeased, there are due procedures to follow and not necessarily by ordering the contractors to continue their work."
He added that the development had added credence to the long time agitation for the reordering of the skewed federal system in the country.
"In a normal situation, all lands and waterways, except the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja should be the property of the federating units. The ministry's attitude further reflected the embarrassing master servant relationship between the Federal Government and the states in the Nigeria system," he said.
Uranta on his part said it was unfortunate that southwest leaders in the ruling party, particularly those serving at the federal level and states, have been relating in a cat and mouse manner since the administration began two years ago.