The federal government has threatened to demolish houses built along the waterfront across the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, dropped this hint on Wednesday at an occasion to mark the 2021 Work Maritime Day Celebration with the theme, “Seafarers at the core of shipping future.”
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He said neither state governments nor individuals had the right to reclaim waters, sell or lease reclaimed land to anyone or groups of persons for the purpose of construction of houses.
He explained that the right fell within the purview of the federal government and not the state.
He said the government would decide when houses built on reclaimed lands would be demolished.
“The constitution stipulates that state government can exercise rights over rivers that starts and ends within the state but does not have such rights if it flows beyond the boundary of the state. The moment it extends beyond a state it then means that it is only the federal government that can make laws that will operate on such waters.
“I see people reclaiming part of our waterways for the purpose of the building. Don’t complain by the time you see bulldozers coming to pull them down.”
The minister said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had in the past deviated from its mandate by pursuing revenue generation, adding, “NIMASA has no business with revenue generation.”
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, described seafarers as true champions and invisible heroes of humanity.
Also speaking, the acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, promised improvement of the welfare of Seafarers in the sub-sector.