From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
As part of efforts to control erosion and flood ravaging many parts of Bayelsa State, the state government has banned the illegal activities of sand dredgers in the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iselema Gbaranbiri gave the directive when he went for an on-the- spot assessment of one of the dredging sites at the Taylor Creek area of Gbarain clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Gbaranbiri who condemned the ugly act expressed dissatisfaction over the current situation of the land as a result of the dredging activities.
According to him the government is concerned about the plight of the Gbarain people and as such, it would no longer condone such chaotic acts from the companies involved.
“The State Government is battling with flood and erosion, farmlands are collapsing, and these dredging activities are only compounding the problems of the State,” he said.
While also disclosing to the operators on site, that there had been series of complains and petitions to him, regarding their activities, Gbaranbiri directed that a Re-Stop Dredging Order which had been earlier issued be issued to the companies involved.
Mr.Dino Steven, one of the individual dredgers on site acknowledged the illegality of the activities and promised to follow the requisite procedure from the state government.
Gbaranbiri speaking to newsmen on efforts of the state government to control erosion and flood lamented the devastating effect of dredging activities to the land and the environment, adding that communities where these activities take place were suffering.
He therefore, reiterated that all illegal dredging activities especially those to the shorelines in the state be stopped forthwith.
The Commissioner stressed that these activities are only compounding the problems of flooding and erosion in the state, warning that anyone caught in the act would be made to face the consequences.
He assured Bayelsans that the Prosperity Government through the Ministry of Environment is alive to its duties and is working to make sure it addresses the various environmental problems ranging from flooding and erosion.