By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government at the weekend said it had banned the operations of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators in the state, noting that it would prosecute any residents that patronise them.

The state government lamented that activities of cart pushers and barrow operators “are threats to security of lives and properties in the state.”

This is contained in a statement the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tunji Bello issued yesterday, noting that their activities were inimical “to the environmental cleanliness in the state.”

In a two-page statement he signed yesterday, Bello disclosed that the state government had banned the operations of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators across the state,

He explained the decision of the state government, saying with the unveiling of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), the continuous activities of cart pushers would pose threat to the success of the initiative.

Bello said investigations had also revealed that the cart pushers “are responsible for most of the illegal dumping of waste in canals and road medians at night which causes flooding.”

Apart from constituting environmental nuisance, Bello alleged that the cart operators “are also traces of security threats. What the state government has discovered is that these set of people use the night to perpetrate all sorts of dastardly acts.

“They dump refuse indiscriminately on the median of major roads and highways. They also pose serious security threats because they use those carts to hide arms and ammunitions and hide under the guise of carrying refuse to rob unsuspecting residents.”

He said the state government has finalised plans to ensure that the CLI would cover every area of the State and ensure that refuse are well packed and collected, urging residents to desist from patronising them or risk prosecution.

“The state government has declared zero tolerance for the activities of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators. Security agencies in the state have been directed to ensure that those found still operating are arrested and prosecuted according to the State Environmental Laws.”

 “The law also applies to residents who patronise cart pushers. It is an offence and the state government would not hesitate to enforce the law to put a stop to such practice,” Bello said.

In an interview before his deployment to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, former Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said the PSP operators opted “to discontinue the lawsuit having reached an amicable resolution with the Lagos State Government. It has nothing to do with the overall import of the CLI.

“In the last six months, it has been one step after the other. It is not a 100-metre dash. It is a marathon. Therefore, you have to approach it gradually and steadily with good breath so that you do not go out of steam. Along the line, we have launched environmental corps.

“Already, we have recruited and trained 27,500 people who will be involved in street sweeping. Because most of the things that will be used are regrettably coming from abroad, we have ordered about 1,000 electronically monitored compactors. We are also distributing electronically monitored waste bins across the state.

“For the first time, 27,500 are already employed directly into the scheme to look after every part of Lagos State. Unlike the previous order that concentrate on basically Lagos Island, we want Alimosho, Ayobo, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Ikotun and Iyana-Ipaja among others to be as clean as Ikoyi, Ikeja, Maryland Surulere or Victoria Island.”