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The Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Wednesday said illegal dredging activities across Delta State was destroying the environment and posing serious threats to the people.
The new Warri Area Manager, NIWA, Mr Shaba Afeso, who spoke to BusinessDay in his office in Warri said the Niger Delta region is sitting on a keg of gun powder, stressing that the activities of the illegal dredgers could cause earthquakes.
He therefore warned all illegal dredgers in the state to stop their illegal dredging activities or be ready to face the full wrath of the law as NIWA would not sit down and fold its arms while unscrupulous individuals ruin the environment.
As a measure to curb the illegal activities of these dredgers, Shaba advocated for complete ban on the use of small dredging machines, popularly known as ‘Keke dredgers,’ saying that not everybody could afford to buy the bigger dredging machines which can not be easily transferred from one place to the other.
He also lamented that the activities of these illegal dredgers was causing the government huge lose in terms of revenue, noting that most of them do not pay tax to the government.
“The issue of illegal dredging is as complex as Nigeria. What we see today is that we have every Dick, Tom and Harry who is able to raise N1.5 million, would go to anywhere there is a river and would start to dredge without consulting the right authority.
“They go and buy this small thing called Keke dredgers and go to the backyard of any old woman where there is water and starts to dredge without authorization. What I will wish to do if I have the power is that they should eradicate these small Keke dredgers from the society because they