The Federal Government has expressed its disagreement with the Lagos State Government over a stop-work order issued to dredgers by the state insisting that Federal Laws were superior to State Laws as far as mining and inland waterways were concerned.
In a statement issued on Monday by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Abass, in Abuja, the Federal Government asked the dredgers to disregard the order from the state.
Abass, however, stated that the Federal Government had already begun the process of consultations with all relevant and affected arms and agencies of government expressing optimism that an amicable resolution of the issue would be reached in no time.
“The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been drawn to a recent ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos and several reports ascribed to various officials of the Lagos State Government regarding a purported stop work order issued to duly licensed dredgers operating in the state,”the statement read.
“While our legal officers are studying the judgment of the Court of Appeal relating to the particulars of the case in question, in the interim; we wish to ask all duly licensed dredgers to disregard the stop work order issued by the Lagos State Government and to continue their lawful operations.
“Particularly, we wish to frown at the way officials of the Lagos State Government have gone about deliberately distorting the pronouncement of the appeal court in this matter.
“It is trite to state that by virtue of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), federal laws in respect of the administration of mining activities and utility of inland waterways supersede those of states.
“A cursory review of the ruling of the learned justices of the Court of Appeal indicates a clear recognition of the powers and responsibilities of the various arms and organs of government with respect to the administration of mining and inland waterways.
“We are therefore at a loss as to why officials of the Lagos State Government will wilfully attempt to inverse the ruling of the court to suit their much-anticipated outcome. The learned justices were clear about the extent and limitation of powers of the various arms of government.
“The Ministry takes this development with all seriousness and solemn commitment. We hereby call on all legitimate dredgers to disregard the order and continue with their lawful operations without let or hindrance.”