By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government has arrested 24 suspects over-involvement in the reclamation of a wetland at Mosafejo Mowo in Badagry.

It also sealed the premises of a private developer company (name withheld) that was constructing on the wetland.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. tunji Bello, said the suspects were arrested on Monday during an operation by security agents and officials from the Department of Conservation and Ecology, following the non-compliance of the company with several “Stop-Work” notices served on them.

Bello stated: “Officials of the ministry observed the series of encroachment during routine monitorings of wetland in the State and on March 1, 2021, a stop-work order was served on the company followed by renewal on two different occasions.

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“A Stop-Work order dated June 29, 2021, was issued and served, but due to the failure of the company to present required approved documents and its refusal to stop work at the site,  another Stop-Work order was served on 8th April 2021 and this was followed with messages forwarded to the representatives of the  company.”

He added that the company responded to the second Stop-Work order on July 5, 2021, by forwarding a survey plan claiming that the survey plan did not indicate that the site is a wetland, explaining that the land was bought from a third party and the title document was still being processed.

 “Without obtaining the wetland clearance approval, Environmental Impact Assessment  (E.I.A), and Drainage clearance approval, the activities at the site are in contravention of the Environmental Management and Protection Law 2017 of Lagos State and National Environmental Impact Assessment Cap E12 LFN 2004,” he stated.

The ministry decried the alarming rate of wetlands loss in the state, calling for an urgent halt to the indiscriminate destruction of natural habitats, induced by unregulated human activities.

“It had become necessary for all stakeholders to join hands for the protection of wetlands in Lagos State, considering the key roles played by wetlands in sustaining the environment,” the commissioner stated.

Meantime, the arrested persons have been handed over to security agents and will be arraigned after due investigations.

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