One scourge that has given Nigerians nightmare in recent years is coastal erosion. While many readily attribute it to climate change, others say indifference and negligence of government have contributed in no small way to the perennial problem. Those who should know say the many shipwrecks that dot the nation’s coastlines are a contributory factor. The Lagos area is said to be host to many of these shipwrecks, some of which happened over three decades ago. Concerned at the threat the wrecks pose to socio-economic life in Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Fashola recently directed that they should be cleared. Contractors were said to have been mobilised, only for them to be stopped by officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who argue that such clearing of wrecks from the seashore is the agency’s responsibility. Thus the Lagos State government cannot embark on such exercise without clearance from the agency. Arukaino Umukoro, staff writer, has been working on the environmental pollution that the shipwrecks pose to the nation for a while. The legwork was daunting, but he remained undaunted. His story on the time bomb in waiting is the special report in this edition.
And the cover story is informed by the latest scandal rocking the House of Representatives. At the heart of the mess is the Capital Market Committee of the House, which was led by Herman Hembe. The committee was mandated to probe the activities of the Capital Market in order to restore the market to its pre-2008 bustle. Alas, the probe ran into a storm on the second day of its sitting. Arunma Oteh, director- general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, accused the members of demanding a N44 million bribe. The leadership of the House moved swiftly to calm frayed nerves. Thus the Hembe Committee has been swept aside. In its place is an ad hoc committee of the House to probe the capital market. Hembe has vowed to go to court to redeem his image. When the Editorial Board met in the heat of the scandal, a decision was taken to examine the numerous scandals of this nature that seem to have become the stock in trade of the National Assembly. Tajudeen Suleiman, associate editor, wrote the story of how this particular deal backfired.