Following widespread indiscriminate dredging and sand mining activities in the state, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Onofiok Luke has called on the legislature at the national level to include the regulation of activities in state inland waterways in the concurrent legislative list to enable state legislatures regulate them.
Hon. Luke was speaking on Wednesday in Uyo while delivering a goodwill message at the ongoing Akwa Ibom state Climate Change and Clean Energy Summit in the state.
The lawmaker said that the last few years have seen to increasing dredging and sand mining activities by individuals and institutions who claim to have been licensed directly by the National Inland Waterways Agency, NIWA. He said that these activities may have left hazardous impact on the Akwa Ibom environment.
“I am using this opportunity to call on the national legislature, as we proceed on the amendment of the constitution, to make the regulation of our inland waterways a part of the concurrent legislative list where we can share legislative competence with the national assembly.”
It would be recalled that Hon. Onofiok Luke had in 2013 presented a motion of urgent public importance to the then 5th Akwa Ibom assembly which led the House to reach a resolution directing the state executive to intervene in indiscriminate dredging and sand mining activities by construction workers in the state.
“The activities of these individual companies are conducted without environmental impact assessment which is supposed to allow the community to know the impact of their activities before and after the operation. Typical examples being burrow pits along Calabar-Itu road, Air Port Road, and sand dredging site along Nsit Ubium-Eket Road and a host of others across the state. Therefore, it is pertinent for the House to rise to the challenges of the time and live true to its name as the People’s Assembly to address this ugly menace threatening our environment”, Hon. Luke had said in 2013.
The Speaker promised that the state assembly will “continue to give legislative backing to government’s efforts in making sure that our environment is protected”, and also to support resolutions from the climate change summit.
The 5-day summit which was declared open by the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr Udom Emmanuel, is the first major climate change and clean energy summit in the state. Also present was the honourable minister of state for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jubrin, and Professor Tony Nyong of the Africa Development Bank who represented the President of the bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. Resource persons who will lead discussions at the summit on climate change, sustainable environment, and creation of green jobs are drawn from across the country.